When a loved one dies, and their assets go through a process called probate, it can be a stressful time as families deal with grief and as well as the responsibility of distributing assets. At The Doyle Law Offices P.A., we have helped families in Wake Forest since 1995 deal with this delicate process as well as the numerous paperwork requirements and deadlines that go along with it.
How Does the Probate Process Work?
Probate is the legal process where the state ensures that the assets of a deceased person are distributed after all debts and taxes are paid. This is done following the will of the deceased. If there is no will, it is done in accordance with state law.
The probate process can become difficult depending on several circumstances. These include:
- The types of assets involved
- Debts associated with the deceased
- Willingness of all parties to cooperate
In many cases, one family member will have been designated executor of the will per the guidelines drawn out in the will. If there was no will prepared, the Clerk of Court will become the administrator of the estate.
Whether an executor or administrator is overseeing the estate, that person becomes the fiduciary and is legally responsible for seeing that everything is done according to the law. The Clerk of Court oversees the entire probate process. The clerk can require the executors or administrators to reimburse the estate for any improper disbursements. The clerk can also hold executors or administrators in contempt of court for missing filing deadlines.
General Steps in the Probate Process
The probate process in North Carolina generally involves these steps:
- Notice to heirs
- Appointing of executor or administrator of the estate
- Inventory and appraisal of the estate assets
- Publishing a notice to creditors advertisement in a qualified newspaper
- Payment of estate debt
- Selling of estate assets
- Payment of estate taxes
- Final distribution of assets
- Final notice filed with the court
Working with our Wake Forest probate attorneys, we can assure that these steps are followed properly and that all notices are filed on time. We take the burden off of you have time to deal with the grieving process.
What Types of Errors Can Executors and Administrators be Held Personally Liable?
There are several types of errors that executors and administrators can find themselves liable for.
- Missed Deadlines
- Errors in Inventories
Problems are more likely to arise in more complex estates. This is why most people hire a qualified attorney to assist with the process. You can count on Attorney Hank Doyle to help you and your family if you are dealing with the probate process. We can provide your family with the professional, experienced representation you deserve in the handling of your loved one’s estate.