The best laid plans…
(Note: the following is a dramatization.)
Mr. Jones had made out his will nine years previously. He knew that his physical health was declining. What worried him more was that he found himself forgetting things, losing things and having trouble keeping track of the bills. He wanted to be sure he made out his will while he was still capable of making decisions and having those decisions respected. Since his wife was in much better shape physically and mentally, he named her as his executor.
Nine years later, Mr. Jones died. He had long since gone into a nursing home, had lost virtually all of his physical and mental abilities, and was mercifully unaware that his wife had died two weeks earlier from an infection picked up during a hospital stay.
This created something of a problem. The clerk of the superior court of the North Carolina county where the nursing home was in took charge of the probate process — which was no great convenience to anyone, as the physical parts of the estate were in a different county (where the process for Mrs. Jones was already underway) and two of the three children lived in different states. The clerk appointed the eldest of the three as the new personal representative, but the other two children did not believe their older brother was qualified to do this. And all of them were still trying to cope with the fact that they had lost both of their parents in the space of a month.
To make matters worse, it turned out that Mr. and Mrs. Jones had a number of outstanding debts — chiefly mortgages on two different homes. Taxes were also owed on their estate, but none of the three were sure exactly how much this would be. Meanwhile, there was yet another funeral to be arranged, a death certificate to be obtained and all the other necessary steps to be taken at a time like this.
Then one of them found a probate attorney who could deal with things like court appearances, payment of claims and all the other aspects of probate administration. After a little discussion, they all agreed this was the best way to stop the argument over the estate from breaking up their family.
Finding a probate attorney in Gastonia, NC
If you are a court-appointed personal representative in a probate case, you will want legal help from a probate attorney who understands the process and can deal with the paperwork. Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Gastonia, Charlotte, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He focuses on wills, trusts and other aspects of elder law, and can serve as a probate attorney. Call and make an appointment today.