In the midst of life…
(Note: the following is a dramatization of real issues.)
When her father made out his will and asked her to be the executor, it all seemed harmlessly theoretical. He was in late fifties, but he was in good health and he always drove carefully. He had quit smoking years ago. She had every reason to believe he would still be going strong in his eighties. Being named as his executor felt like an honor.
One day, six years later, she got the phone call.
It was a burst aneursym. There was no warning. Her father was dead.
It was a shock, as such things always are. Amid the sudden grief, there was an unexpected mass of now-urgent paperwork. She would need the death certificate — multiple copies of it, in fact. There was the estate to be dealt with — the accumulated wealth of a lifetime in various forms, to be disposed of according to his will. What she did not know was whether the estate would need to go through probate. If it was, she would have to file his will with probate court. She lived in California, but her father lived in North Carolina — which meant a North Carolina court would have jurisdiction over the process.
And while all this was going on, the funeral would have to be arranged, and it would also have to be paid for. Her father had left instructions on how the funeral was to go, but there was no record of any prepayment for the funeral or any money set aside for the purpose. Then there were the debts. Credit card debts, a bank mortgage, payments on an old business loan — a horde of creditors were coming forward and demanding to be paid as soon as possible.
She had three children. Neither she nor her husband could afford to take the amount of time off from work that would be necessary to deal with all this. More to the point, neither of them had the legal knowledge necessary. So she found a probate attorney who could answer questions that needed to be answered quickly, such as whether the estate would need to go through the whole process of probate, a shortened form of it, or not at all. The attorney also dealt with court appearances, payment of claims and other aspects of probate administration for her, allowing her to mourn her father while getting on with her life.
Probate attorney in Gastonia, NC
If you are an executor or court-appointed personal representative in a probate case, you will want legal help from a probate attorney who understands the process. 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. Call and make an appointment today.