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  • Writer's pictureDenise Davis

All You Need to Know About Probate in NC

Updated: Nov 30, 2023


wooden blocks with the letters that spells out probate

All You Need to Know About Probate in NC

When you think of probate, think of it as a way in which the court distributes an estate to the rightful heirs. This is a legal process supervised by the court that gives someone, in most cases the surviving spouse or close family member, authority to manage the deceased’s assets, taxes, and debts.


[Need help with probate? Join our Private Facebook group where you can ask questions and get answers, learn from others or share what you learned about the probate process. Be the first to join our new group! Join Here.]


North Carolina does not necessarily require probate after death. This will depend on what the deceased owned and the property value.


Every real estate owner is strongly advised to create a Will or a Living Trust. Even though that may sometimes feel a bit daunting, it helps make life occurrence a bit easier for your loved ones.


In this article we will refer to the person who died as the decedent.


What is probate?


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Probate is a court process for authenticating the decedent's Will and approving the Executor so they can start distributing the decedent's property and belongings.


Probate requires that the decedent's assets are identified along with the value of each asset. These assets may need to be sold if the decedent had creditors who needs to be paid or if the decedent's estate need to pay taxes.


Probate can also happen in a situation where you do not have a Will. Even though the process will still be completed, it is a bit more complicated. Since there are no documents that reveal the decedent's wishes, the courts would have to use their best judgment and make the decisions for you.


One thing you must remember is that each state has its way of handling probate. For instance, the North Carolina probate process is handled by the Clerk of the Superior Court.


How the probate process works


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The probate process in North Carolina starts at the Clerk of Superior Court in the county where the decedent lived. The rightful person makes an application to the clerk of superior court office. This can be the executor/executrix named in the Will or if there is no Will, someone who qualifies to be an administrator.


There are some important documents that must be included in the application:

  • The Will if there is one

  • Certified copy of the deceased’s death certificate

  • Preliminary inventory of the estate

The executors and administrators are also known as the estate’s personal representatives and they must take an oath of office stating that they will execute their mandate faithfully.


A court-appointed executor receives letters testamentary while administrators get letters of administration. These documents are authoritative in regard to handling assets of the estate.


What you must carry in the first probate hearing


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The following must be availed when conducting the first probate hearing:

  • Last Will (if any is available)

  • Certified copy of death certificate

  • Names and addresses of heirs

  • List of known creditors


Do I need legal services for probate?

Not everyone is well-versed in how probate works. That is why you may need probate lawyers or a probate tax professionals to assist with the process. The legal professionals understand existing probate laws in North Carolina that protect the family and loved ones’ assets.


Although getting a lawyer experienced in probate is highly advised there may be some people who prefer to file on their own without the assistance of an attorney. If this is you, I would suggest you read "How to file probate in North Carolina without a lawyer" to give you some ideas on getting started.


At NC Probate Solutions, we handle the non-legal side of probate and assist in selling the home when needed. Get in touch with me and I will be glad to help you out.


[Need help with probate? Join our Private Facebook group where you can ask questions and get answers, learn from others or share what you learned about the probate process. Be the first to join our new group! Join Here.]



Denise Harper Davis Certified Probate Real Estate Agent

Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist

Licensed Realtor 252-902-9006




* 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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