The complicated process of probate
Probate is a long and complicated process that, for most families, comes at the worst possible moment — the death of a loved one. Fortunately, a probate attorney can ease and in some cases shorten the process.
The probate process begins when someone dies. The county where the deceased resided in at the time of death has jurisdiction over it, and the process is administrated by the clerk of the superior court of that county. The process can take six months or more, and sometimes a full year. It can also be very expensive.
First, the court appoints a personal representative to handle the estate. Then it determines the validity of the will, assuming there is one — if there is not, the assets of the deceased are distributed according to state law. In either case, the state can collect inheritance taxes along with any taxes the deceased owed, and any creditors the deceased had will file claims against the estate. All forms relating to the assets of the deceased must be filed in probate court. Therefore, if the court appoints you to deal with the estate as personal representative, you will want expert legal help.
When it is shorter and easier
Not all assets are governed by the probate process. Assets held in trust, for example, are not subject to it. You will need an estate management attorney to assist in the process of drawing up the trust. This attorney can also tell you which assets go through probate. So whether you are making out your own will or anticipate becoming a beneficiary, you should have a probate attorney.
If the estate is small enough, there is no need to go through the entire probate process. Instead, a shortened version of it will do. Another function of probate attorneys is to inform their clients when this is possible.
And if it turns out that the estate must go through the entire process of probate, you will want a probate attorney who deals with all aspects of probate administration in his or her own office — filing papers with the clerk of court, distributing the assets of the deceased, paying creditors and other claimants. This way, the client will not need to go to the courthouse at all.
Charlotte NC attorney helps with probate
Robert C. Whitt, Charlotte attorney, servicing the areas of Charlotte, Gastonia, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He has a particular focus on the field of North Carolina probate law. If you need a probate attorney in North Carolina, or if you may need one within the next few years, call and make an appointment today.