6 facts about the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property in NC
Updated: Feb 11
Probate is the legal process whereby the assets of a deceased person are distributed to their beneficiaries after the decedent's death. To settle an estate, in North Carolina the county probate court appoints a personal representative to manage the estate's assets and liabilities.
When settling an estate, residents of North Carolina have options outside the traditional probate process. The Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property of Decedent (Collection by Affidavit) is one simplified procedure applicable solely to small estates.
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What is The Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property?
According to the North Carolina statute § 28A-25-1, a beneficiary can settle a deceased person's estate without going through probate by applying for the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property of the Decedent (form AOC-E-203B).
The administrator or beneficiary must provide the Affidavit to the person or entity possessing the deceased's assets for transfer of ownership. The affidavit for collecting personal property is a two-page document, and the filing fee is $120.
Whether the deceased passes away without a will (intestate) or with a will (testate), a Collection by Affidavit is an option for small estates.
Who May Serve As The Affiant
The public administrator, the decedent's heir, creditor, or executor, may serve as the affiant ( a person who swears to an affidavit.) or person who makes the affidavit.
When a decedent does not leave behind a sizable amount of property, the administrator and heirs might save time and money by applying for the affidavit.
If the court grants the petition, the affiant will be permitted to collect and manage the inheritance. Debts must be paid, and assets must be distributed as directed in the will (or the North Carolina Intestate Succession law if the deceased left no will).
After all estate obligations have been paid, and all estate property has been distributed, the affiant must submit a closing affidavit with the Clerk of Superior Court.
The form is The Affidavit of Collection, Disbursement, and Distribution (Form AOC-E-204). Complete details of the estate's earnings, debt payments, and disbursements can be seen in the closing affidavit.
Requirements for qualifying for Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property
The value of the deceased person's personal property, less any liens, must be $20,000 or less for the estate to be eligible for this process if the decedent was unmarried. The same applies if the affiant is not a spouse.
However, as the sole heir of the deceased, the surviving spouse may apply for the Affidavit. In this instance, the value of the decedent's personal property may not be more than $30,000 after deducting any encumbrances and a $60,000 spousal allowance.
All tangible assets, such as furniture, jewelry, automobiles, etc., are included in this valuation. Stocks, bonds, and bank accounts are examples of intangible assets that are also considered part of the decedent's personal property.
Retirement accounts and life insurance policies with beneficiary labels are not included in the computation to determine whether or not an estate meets the legal definition of a small estate.
Land, buildings, and mineral rights are examples of real property that fall outside this definition's scope.
Conditions for filing out the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property in North Carolina
The provisions of North Carolina Statute 28A-25-1 directs the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property. To ensure a successful procedure, the following requirements must be met:
There must have been at least 30 days between the date of death and the beginning of the application process.
The application must include Death Certificate verifying the 30-day waiting period
No pending application or approval must be granted for a personal representative's appointment.
The application must include a detailed inventory of the deceased estate. However, if the deceased's real property is to be sold within two years of death, the small estate criteria may be waived.
A certified copy of the will must be attached to the application if the deceased left a valid will.
All the beneficiaries' and heirs' full names and current addresses must be entered correctly on form AOC-E-203B.
The form must be completed in black ink.
A notary public, Clerk of the Superior Court, or Assistant CSC must attest to the affiant's signature and the authenticity of the documents.
An official seal must be affixed by either a court official or a notary.
The county of the deceased's residence must be the location of filing the affidavit.
A Resident Process Agent document AOC-E-500, signed by you and an agent you appoint, and notarized, must be provided if you are not a North Carolina resident. The designated individual will assist at the court.
Benefits of applying for the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property
Compared to a full-fledged probate administration, the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property of Decedent process usually saves money and time. In contrast to probate, there is no mandatory waiting period or notice to creditors.
Thus, if an estate qualifies as "small, "it is unnecessary to go through the probate process, which can take months or even years. Instead, fill out the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property and have it notarized. Then, give it to the entity holding the assets (usually a financial institution). The process fast-tracks the disbursement to the beneficiaries.
Moreover, settling an estate through the affidavit for Collection of Personal Property does not necessitate various administrative fees that would be required in a formal procedure.
North Carolina Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property
Using a North Carolina Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property, a deceased person's heirs can claim their inheritance without going through the lengthy and expensive probate process. However, this Affidavit is useful only if the petitioner or affiant has a valid claim to the estate.
To qualify for the affidavit, the net worth of the decedent's estate must be at most $20,000 or $30,000 if the surviving spouse is the only heir. Upon presentation of the certified affidavit, Each party holding any of the decedent's assets is compelled by law to transfer ownership to the affiant.
Despite how straightforward the procedure may appear, it demands great attention to detail. However, legal counsel can be invaluable if you need help with the affidavit process or the closure of an estate.
North Carolina Probate Solutions
North Carolina Probate Solutions provides an umbrella of services to meet your probate processing needs. If you feel you need an attorney to answer your legal questions I can put you in touch with an experienced probate attorney. There are many services I can coordinate for you so you do not have to do probate alone. If you have any questions or would like to learn more please call me. I would love to share my expertise with you!
Denise Harper Davis
Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist
* NOTE: North Carolina Probate Solutions and the author of this article is not a licensed attorney or CPA. This post should not be considered legal or tax advice. Always consult an estate attorney or tax professional when needing legal answers and legal advice.
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