The probate process is triggered when someone passes away and is the process through which a will is validated and assets are transferred to their new owners. An executor is responsible for overseeing this process and the executor owes the highest duty of care to the deceased. Heirs and family members of the deceased also need to be aware of the laws and of the inner workings of the probate process so they can make sure their deceased relative’s wishes are respected and so they can protect their own right to inherit.
At the Law Offices of Cheryl David, our experienced legal team provides the necessary guidance to executors, heirs, family members, and others involved in probate. We understand probate laws and laws regarding wills and trusts in North Carolina and we can help make probate easy. We also provide assistance to clients in creating a probate avoidance plan so probate isn’t necessary after a death. When you want to ensure you get help from an experienced Greensboro probate lawyer, give us a call today for personalized advice and for answers to questions including:
- What is the probate process in North Carolina?
- What are my responsibilities during probate?
- How can a Guilford County probate lawyer help me?
What is the probate process in North Carolina?
Probate is a process triggered by a death. While there are some limited situations where probate is not necessary because estates are very small or probate avoidance steps were taken before death, these situations are few and far between. In almost all circumstances, probate has to happen to wind up the affairs of the deceased and to facilitate the process of transferring assets to new owners.
Probate occurs in probate court. An executor must file the appropriate court paperwork. There are several steps to probate once the process has begun. The will, if a will was left behind, is validated. The value of the estate is determined for purposes of calculating whether taxes will be due and in what amount. Creditors are provided with notice of a death and the opportunity to make claims on the estate, and there is also an opportunity to contest the validity of the will. The executor manages assets throughout this process and at the close of probate, heirs who were left property take ownership of it.
What are my Responsibilities During Probate?
Your responsibilities during probate vary depending upon your specific role. Executors generally have the most responsibility during the probate process, as they must take care of initiating probate and overseeing every phase. Executors are named by the deceased in the will and they have a fiduciary duty, which is the highest duty under the law. If there is no will or the executor cannot perform the duties, the court will name an administrator to oversee the probate process. In this case, the administrator would have the bulk of the responsibilities.
Heirs who stand to inherit and other relatives or loved ones of the deceased have few responsibilities other than waiting to inherit. However, you should monitor the manner in which the executor is handling probate and overseeing the care of assets to ensure the executor does not breach his duty. If you believe the will which is being probated is invalid, you also want to take steps to challenge the will so you can ensure the deceased’s assets actually go to the individuals he would have chosen.
Executors, those who wish to challenge a will, and heirs could all benefit from having a legal professional to help them to understand both their rights and responsibilities during the probate process.
How can a Guilford County Probate Lawyer Help Me?
Understanding your responsibilities during probate and protecting the rights of the deceased can be complicated, especially since there are many North Carolina laws which must be followed. As you try to cope with the aftermath of a death, it is confusing and stressful to be thrust into an unfamiliar legal world where you have to find out all kinds of new information on probate laws.
When you are represented by a Greensboro probate lawyer, you don’t have to worry about any of these issues. Your attorney can take care of all of the legal aspects of probate and can be your guide through every step of the probate process. The Law Offices of Cheryl David provides assistance to executors, heirs, and other interested parties in Guilford County and surrounding areas of North Carolina. Give us a call today at (336) 547-9999 or contact us online to learn more.