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- Understanding the North Carolina Probate Process: A Guide for Executors and Families
Losing a loved one is an emotionally challenging experience, and navigating the legal procedures that follow can add to the stress. Probate is one such procedure that can seem daunting, but understanding it can make all the difference. This blog post aims to shed light on the probate process in North Carolina, offering a step-by-step guide to help estate executors, administrators, and bereaved families through this challenging time. What is Probate? Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person's will is validated, and their assets are distributed to heirs and beneficiaries under the superior court supervision. It also involves paying off any debts and taxes owed by the estate. In North Carolina, probate is necessary to ensure a proper and lawful transfer of assets. Filing legal documents and abiding by the probate timeline serves a major role in completing the probate process. How is Probate Handled if There is No Will in NC? Intestate Succession in North Carolina When a person dies without a will in North Carolina, their estate is subject to intestate succession laws. These laws dictate how the estate will be distributed to the surviving relatives. The allocation depends largely on the deceased's familial structure at the time of death. For instance, if the deceased is survived by a spouse and children, the estate is divided among them in accordance with state laws. Without a spouse or children, other relatives such as parents or siblings may inherit the assets. Understanding the order of intestate succession is crucial for relatives to grasp their inheritance rights under North Carolina law. In the article North Carolina Intestacy law: Who Inherits Property When There is No Will? we share a complete breakdown of the NC Intestate laws. Who Can File for Probate? In North Carolina, the executor named in the will is responsible for filing for probate. If no will exists or no executor is named, a close relative or interested party can apply to be the administrator of the decedent's estate. When Should You File for Probate in NC? The probate process should begin promptly after the individual's passing. North Carolina law requires that the will be filed with the probate court in the county where the decedent lived, and the process initiated within 60 days of the death. What happens if you wait longer than 60 days to file probate If probate is not initiated within 60 days following the death, potential complications may arise. Delaying the filing past this window does not automatically disqualify the decedent's estate from going through probate; however, it can lead to unnecessary delays and could potentially raise questions among heirs or beneficiaries about the reasons for the delay. Furthermore, if assets are not secured and legally transferred in a timely manner, they are susceptible to loss, depreciation, or claim by creditors. To avoid such issues, it is advisable to start the probate proceedings as soon as reasonably possible. Probate Assets vs. Non-Probate Assets It's important to understand that not all assets go through probate. Probate assets typically include all property solely owned by the deceased. In contrast, non-probate assets could include jointly held properties, life insurance policies, retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, and trust assets, which pass directly to the beneficiary and circumvent the probate process. What happens if heirs Disagree? Disagreements between heirs over the distribution of an estate's assets can complicate the probate process significantly. In such instances, North Carolina probate courts may need to intervene to resolve disputes. Heirs have the right to contest a will if they believe its terms do not reflect the true intentions of the decedent or if they suspect the will was a result of undue influence, fraud, or lack of capacity at the time of its creation. In some cases a petition to partition may need to be filed. This will ensure that each heir receives what rightfully belongs to them. It is essential for all parties to seek legal counsel to protect their interests and ensure a fair resolution in accordance with North Carolina law. The Role of Executors and Administrators in NC Probate The executor, as named in the will, or the administrator, as appointed by the court in cases of intestacy, plays a critical role in the North Carolina probate process. This individual is responsible for collecting the decedent's assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining estate to the rightful heirs. The duties require a high level of diligence and often involve intricate financial management. Executors and administrators must also adhere to North Carolina's probate laws and deadlines, failing which they may face legal consequences. For individuals serving in these roles, it is advisable to consult with a probate attorney for guidance throughout the procedure. In the article When a loved one dies and you become the executor, we go more into depth on the responsibilities of the person managing the estate. Does Real Estate Have to Go Through Probate in NC? In North Carolina, whether real estate must pass through probate depends largely on how the property was held. If the real estate was owned solely in the name of the decedent, or as tenants in common with others, it generally does need to go through probate. On the other hand, if the property was held in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship or as a tenancy by the entirety, the real estate passes directly to the co-owner without the need for probate. In situations where the property is held in a trust, it will also bypass the probate process, aligning with the terms set forth in the trust agreement. Out-Of-State Decedents and Property in Different Counties If the decedent lived in another state but owned property in North Carolina, an ancillary probate proceeding would need to be initiated in NC. This process works concurrently with the primary probate proceeding in the home state. Additionally, if the decedent owned properties in different counties within North Carolina, additional steps might be necessary in each county to manage and distribute those assets properly. Filing for Probate Without a Lawyer in NC It is possible to file for probate without legal representation in North Carolina. Self-representation, however, means taking on the responsibility of understanding and complying with complex legal requirements, which can be overwhelming for someone unfamiliar with the process. Seeking assistance from a knowledgeable probate attorney is highly recommended to navigate the process effectively. The Probate Process in North Carolina Let's walkthrough the fundamental steps of probate in NC: Filing the Will and Death Certificate: Submit the original will and death certificate to the probate court in the appropriate county. This is a court supervised proceeding so be prepared to pay legal fees when filing the documents. Appointment of the Executor or Administrator: The court appoints the executor or administrator, who will oversee the probate process. Inventory of Assets: The executor/administrator must compile a thorough inventory of all probate assets. Notice to Creditors: Creditors are notified and given a period to present any claims against the estate's assets. Pay Debts and Taxes: All legitimate debts, including taxes, must be paid from the estate before beneficiaries can receive their shares. Distribution of Assets: After debts and taxes are settled, the remaining assets are distributed to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries as outlined in the will or by state law if there is no will. Closing the Estate: The final step involves preparing a final accounting of how all assets were managed and distributed and submitting it for court approval to close the estate. How To Avoid Probate in North Carolina Avoiding probate can save time, money, and privacy for your heirs. In NC, there are several legal strategies to avoid probate in North Carolina: Joint Property Ownership: Holding property jointly with right of survivorship means that upon the death of one owner, the property immediately passes to the surviving owner without the need for probate. Beneficiary Designations: Financial assets such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and bank accounts can allow you to name a beneficiary who will receive the assets directly after your death, bypassing probate. Payable-On-Death and Transfer-On-Death Accounts: Similar to beneficiary designations, these allow you to name beneficiaries for your bank accounts and securities, respectively. Living Trusts: By creating a living trust, you can transfer assets into the trust to be managed for your benefit during your lifetime and then transferred to your beneficiaries upon your death, without going through probate. These tools can help individuals avoid probate and manage how their assets are handled after their passing and can be tailored to the unique needs of each estate. Consulting with an estate planning attorney is recommended to implement these strategies effectively. North Carolina Probate Process The probate process in NC is structured to ensure fair and transparent management and distribution of an individual's estate. Nevertheless, it involves a complex interplay of probate laws and regulations that can be difficult for the untrained individual to navigate. Executors and families are encouraged to seek professional legal advice to ensure their loved one's assets are handled properly and in accordance with the law. As you embark on this journey, remember that the probate court staff and legal professionals are invaluable resources that can help make this process as smooth as possible. Take your time, stay organized, and don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it. For those who decide to take this on without a lawyer, remember that diligence, attention to detail, and a steady commitment to understanding the legal process will be your greatest tools during probate. Our thoughts are with you during this challenging period, and we hope this guide serves as a supportive resource in your time of need. Need Someone to Talk to About the Probate Process? North Carolina Probate Solutions is here to help. Hi, I'm Denise Davis, a certified probate realtor and I can help you navigate through the probate process. My team and I have years of experience handling probate cases in NC. As your real estate agent I am dedicated to providing compassionate and efficient support to executors and beneficiaries. Whether you need assistance with selling real estate, managing assets, or understanding the legal aspects of probate, our team is here to guide you every step of the way. We understand the emotional toll that probate can take on families, and we strive to make the process as stress-free as possible. If you need to sell real estate or just have questions about the probate process, don't hesitate to reach out to me for a consultation or to answer any questions you may have. I am here to support you and your loved ones during this difficult time. Remember, I am here to help you navigate through the complexities of probate. Denise Harper Davis 252-902-9006 EXP Realtor | Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist If you haven't already done so, join my Facebook NC Probate Support Group. Join Me on YouTube Other Articles You May Be Interested In: Understanding the Petition to Partition in Probate: Resolving Estate Disputes Why You Need a Living Trust Instead of a Will Surviving Spouses Property Rights in North Carolina
- What is a Probate Bond in North Carolina?
Unfortunately, when someone passes away, their possessions often go through probate to be distributed among creditors, heirs, and beneficiaries. This process involves: Identifying and understanding the decedent's last will and testament. Gathering their possessions and determining the valuable assets. Settling any outstanding debts of the deceased. Paying property and estate taxes. Covering the expenses of a funeral ceremony. Distributing remaining assets among beneficiaries or heirs. A person will be assigned to manage the deceased person's estate. This will either be an executor or an administrator. The court may also require that they purchase a probate bond before filing probate. Probate Bond In North Carolina A probate bond is a special guarantee or you can say it is extra protection that is required by North Carolina state courts to ensure that the executor or administrator of an estate carries out their responsibilities responsibly and truthfully. Probate bonds, protects beneficiaries and creditors from potential harm due to misconduct or negligence by the executor or administrator. Probate bonds are issued to administrators, executors, conservators, and guardians of estates in North Carolina. How Can Probate Bonds Help Heirs and Beneficiaries? The executor or administrator is responsible for managing the decedent's estate and making sure the heirs and beneficiaries get what rightfully belongs to them. If the estate is mismanaged for any reason, it may result in some type of financial harm to the heirs or beneficiaries.. If this was to happen the heirs or beneficiaries would be able to file a claim with the probate bond company and possibly be reimbursed for any financial harm caused by the executor or administrator. The executor/administrator may be held personally liable for the damages and may face fines or even jail time. What happens If I can't afford the probate bond in NC If you find yourself unable to afford the probate bond in North Carolina, there are a few steps you can take. First, you may petition the court to waive the bond requirement, especially if the will explicitly states that no bond is necessary. If that is not an option, you could also seek assistance from other beneficiaries, who may have a vested interest in the estate's prompt and secure administration. Lastly, some bonding companies might offer payment plans or reduced rates for individuals who can demonstrate financial hardship. Consulting with an estate planning attorney can offer you more personalized options and strategies to address your specific circumstances. How long is a probate bond good? A probate bond, once issued in North Carolina, remains effective until the probate process is completed and the court discharges the executor or administrator from their duties. This duration can vary greatly, from a few months to several years, depending on the complexity of the estate and the presence of any probate litigation. It’s crucial for executors to understand that they are responsible for maintaining the bond for the entire duration of the estate administration process. Failing to do so can lead to legal consequences and potentially delay the distribution of the estate's assets. Additionally, if the executor or administrator wishes to resign from their duties, they must obtain a release of the bond from the court before doing so. It’s essential to work closely with an attorney throughout this process to ensure compliance with all legal requirements and avoid any complications. So, it is important to carefully consider the responsibilities and potential costs associated with obtaining and maintaining the probate fiduciary duties. How to Get a Bond Waived Creating a will with an attorney might waive the probate bond requirement, but three other options exist to avoid having to obtain a bond: All heirs agree to waive the bond. Settle any existing financial obligations. Obtain court approval to be excused from obtaining a probate bond. Fortunately, judges may agree to bypass the administrator's probate bond requirement. This may help executors or administrators who can not afford to purchase the bond or who may not meet the credit score requirement that some bond companies require. How Much Does a Probate Bond Cost? The cost of a probate bond in North Carolina can vary depending on the size of the estate and the specific requirements set by the court. Generally, the premium for a probate bond is a small percentage of the total bond amount, which correlates with the value of the estate going through probate. It's essential to compare quotes from licensed bonding companies to get the best rate. Keep in mind, the creditworthiness of the estate executor may also influence the cost of the bond. Engaging an estate planning attorney can provide guidance on whether a probate bond is required in your situation and assist with obtaining one at a competitive rate. According to a surety bond company called Swiftbonds there rates are: Bond Amount Needed Fee <$20,000 $100-$150 $20,000-30,000 $150-$200 $30,000-50,000 $200-$300 $50,000 +0.5-0.8% You can do a google search for probate bonds or surety bond company and speak with the company representative to find their fees When Is a Probate Bond NOT Required? In North Carolina, a probate bond may not be required in certain circumstances. If the decedent's will explicitly states that no bond shall be necessary, the executor may be exempt based on those wishes. Additionally, when all beneficiaries agree in writing to waive the bond, the court may also dispense with the requirement. Alternatively, if the estate qualifies for a simplified small estate administration, which applies to estates of limited value and complexity, no bond may be needed. According to Article 8 § 28A-8-1. No Probate bond shall be required of: (1) A resident executor, unless the express terms of the will require a resident executor to give bond; (2) A nonresident executor (or a resident executor who moves from this State subsequent to that executor's appointment) who has appointed a resident agent to accept service of process as provided in G.S. 28A-4-2(a) [28A-4-2(4)], when the express terms of the will excuse a nonresident executor from giving bond; (3) A nonresident executor, when there is a resident executor named who has qualified as coexecutor unless the express terms of the will require them to give bond, or the clerk of superior court finds that such bond is necessary for the protection of the estate; or (4) A personal representative appointed solely for the purpose of bringing an action for the wrongful death of the deceased until such time as the personal representative shall receive property into the estate of the deceased; or (5) A personal representative that is a trust institution licensed under G.S. 53-159; (6) A personal representative of an intestate who resides in the State of North Carolina when all of the heirs of the decedent are over 18 years of age and file with the clerk of superior court a written waiver instrument agreeing to relieve the personal representative from the necessity of giving bond; or (7) A personal representative where the personal representative receives all the property of the decedent; (8) An administrator with the will annexed who resides in the State of North Carolina when all of the devisees of the decedent are over 18 years of age and file with the clerk of superior court a written waiver instrument agreeing to relieve the administrator with the will annexed of the necessity of giving bond. Who Receives the Probate Bond? To qualify for a probate bond, an estate's personal representatives, executors, or administrators must demonstrate financial stability and a credible credit history. Remember filing probate is a legal process so the person must be someone who is willing and capable to carry out the fiduciary duties and one of good faith and character. If they can't meet these criteria, attorneys may assist by taking control of the estate account. Should You Purchase a Probate Bond? Probate can be a complex task to handle and the possibilities of making mistakes are high, especially if you are trying to do probate on your own. If something goes wrong you could be held personally responsible for paying heirs, beneficiaries and creditors what rightfully belonged to them. So having a probate bond not only protects the heirs and beneficiaries, it may also protects the executor and administrator. North Carolina Probate Solutions If you have further questions about the probate process or purchasing a probate bond feel free to reach out to me. Also if you have real estate that you need to sell contact me and let's discuss the best options for you. Denise Harper Davis 252-902-9006 EXP Realtor | Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist Other Articles You May Be Interested In: Understanding the Petition to Partition in Probate: Resolving Estate Disputes Why You Need a Living Trust Instead of a Will Surviving Spouses Property Rights in North Carolina
- Understanding the Petition to Partition in Probate: Resolving Estate Disputes
Probate proceedings can sometimes become complex and contentious, especially when multiple heirs or beneficiaries are involved. One legal tool that is often utilized in such situations is the "Petition to Partition." This legal action aims to address issues related to the distribution of assets within an estate and can be a crucial step in resolving disputes among heirs. What is a Petition to Partition? A Petition to Partition is a legal document filed with the court that seeks to divide or distribute the assets of an estate among the heirs or beneficiaries. This process is commonly employed when there is disagreement among the interested parties regarding the distribution of the estate's property. The goal of the petition is to bring clarity and resolution to disputes, allowing for a fair and equitable distribution of assets. When is a Petition to Partition Necessary? Several situations may lead to the filing of a Petition to Partition in the context of probate: Multiple Heirs: When there are multiple heirs or beneficiaries, conflicts can arise regarding how the estate should be distributed. Differences in opinion on the value of specific assets or the desire to retain certain properties may prompt the need for a partition. Disagreements on Property Use: In cases where real estate is part of the estate, heirs may have conflicting views on how the property should be used or managed. Some heirs may want to sell the property, while others may wish to retain it for personal use. Unequal Distribution: If there are disparities in the value of the assets or if some heirs receive more favorable treatment than others, dissatisfied beneficiaries may seek a partition to ensure a fair distribution. Financial Disputes: Disagreements over financial matters, such as the payment of debts or expenses related to the estate, can also trigger the need for a Petition to Partition. The Process of Filing a Petition to Partition: Consultation with Legal Counsel: Before filing a Petition to Partition, it is advisable for interested parties to seek legal advice. An attorney can assess the situation, guide the parties through the legal process, and represent their interests in court. Filing the Petition: The petitioner, typically one of the interested parties, files the Petition to Partition with the probate court. The petition outlines the issues at hand, the assets in question, and the requested relief. Court Proceedings: Once the petition is filed, the court will schedule hearings to review the case. The court may consider evidence presented by all parties involved, including appraisals of property values and financial documentation. Resolution: Based on the evidence presented, the court will make a decision on how to partition the estate. This may involve the sale of assets, division of property, or other measures to ensure a fair distribution. Conclusion: A Petition to Partition plays a crucial role in resolving disputes within a probate estate. By providing a legal avenue for addressing disagreements among heirs or beneficiaries, this process aims to achieve a fair and equitable distribution of assets. Parties involved in probate proceedings should carefully consider the option of a Petition to Partition with the guidance of legal professionals to ensure their interests are represented and that the probate process concludes with a satisfactory resolution for all involved. If you need assistance with selling an inherited home or a home that has been included in probate contact Denise Davis. Denise will consult with you on which options are best when it comes to selling your home and will also offer guidance with the probate process. Denise Davis Realtor | Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist EXP Realty 252-902-9006 Other Related Articles to Read: North Carolina Intestacy Laws: Who Inherits Property When There Is No Will How to File Probate in NC Without a Lawyer Surviving Spouse Rights in NC How a Probate Realtor Can Help You Sell Your Property
- Why You Need a Living Trust Instead of a Will
Estate planning can be a daunting process, especially for parents who want to ensure that their children are taken care of after they pass away. While a will is a common estate planning tool, it may not offer the best protection for your assets nor your family's future. That's where a living trust comes in. In this article we will discuss the benefits of a living trust and why this just may be a better option than a will. 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! What Is a Living Trust? A living trust is a powerful legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trust during your lifetime. As the trustee, you have complete control over what the trust contains, and after you pass away, the assets are distributed to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. A living trust offers several advantages over a will, making it a better option for parents who want to leave their personal belongings to their children. Let's take a closer look at everything a living trust has to offer. Benefits of a Living Trust Avoiding Probate One of the most significant advantages of a living trust is that it avoids probate. Probate is a court-supervised process that can be time-consuming and expensive, tying up your assets in the court system for months or even years. With a living trust, your assets are distributed directly to your beneficiaries without going through probate, providing a faster and more efficient distribution process. Protecting Your Privacy Another advantage of a living trust is that it protects your privacy. When a will goes through probate, it becomes public record, allowing anyone to access and review the details of your financial affairs. With a living trust, your finances remain private, ensuring that your family's business stays confidential. Providing Continuity A living trust can also provide continuity for your family if you become incapacitated. If you're unable to manage your assets due to illness or injury, your successor trustee can step in and manage the trust for you, ensuring that your assets are dealt with according to your desires, even if you're unable to do so yourself. Greater Control Over Distribution As a parent, you want to make sure that your children have the resources they need even after you are gone. A living trust allows you to specify exactly how you want your assets distributed, providing you with more control over the process. For example, you can set up separate trusts for each child, specifying what assets each child will receive and at what age, helping to avoid disputes or misunderstandings between your children. Naming a Trustee to Manage Assets Another advantage of a living trust is that it allows you to name a trustee to oversee your assets until your children reach a certain age. This can be especially important if you have minor children who are not yet capable of dealing with their own finances. With a living trust, you can ensure that your children's needs are taken care of until they are old enough to handle their money responsibly. Resources Are Available While the estate planning process can be intimidating, it's important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you and help you make the best decisions for your particular situation. By leveraging a living trust, you can rest easy knowing that your assets will be distributed how you want, and your family's future will be secure. Having Proper Legal Representation Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and everyone's needs are unique. That's why having a knowledgeable attorney in your corner is crucial. They will help you work through the legal implications of your decisions and ensure that your intentions are accurately reflected in your estate planning documents. Updating Your Living Trust It's also important to keep your living trust up to date. Life circumstances can change, such as the birth of a child, divorce, or the purchase of a new asset. These changes may require updates, and it's important to work with an attorney to ensure that your living trust remains current. A quick look at a will A will is a legal document that allows you to designate how your assets will be distributed upon your death. It's important to create and update a will regularly, as it gives you control over where your money and possessions go after you're gone. Unlike a trust, a will has to go through probate. During the probate process heirs and beneficiaries are usually the last to receive assets that you have placed in the will for them. Creditors and taxes will be paid first, and any assets or funds remaining will be passed on to beneficiaries and then heirs. If for some reason there is no money or assets remaining after paying creditors and taxes then your beneficiaries and heirs will not receive anything. This is why in most cases having a trust is always better than having a will. Plan for the Future Today Planning for the future can be a difficult and emotional process, but it's important to start today. A living trust provides greater protection for your assets and your family's future, giving peace of mind to you and your loved ones. With a clear plan in place, your family will know exactly what your wishes are, and will be able to avoid misunderstandings or disagreements that may otherwise tear them apart. Don't wait until it's too late. Consult with an experienced attorney now and start planning for the road ahead. North Carolina Probate Solutions We partner with probate and estate planning attorneys throughout North Carolina. If you would like us to put you in touch with an attorney to help you put in place a trust that will secure your assets for your beneficiaries contact us today. 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 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. Other Related Articles: Understanding to Petition to Partition in Probate
- Small Estates: How a Small Estate Affidavit Can Help You Skip Probate Court
If you have ever lost a loved one and became the personal representative of their estate, you know that the probate process can be time-consuming, complicated and expensive. But what if there was a way to get your inheritance while bypassing probate court entirely? Sometimes, a person dies without significant assets. Small estate laws allow smaller estates to skip the probate process and puts the inheritances in the hands of the beneficiaries and heirs faster. This helps keep the court docket clear and helps families reach closure faster. While not everyone is eligible to take advantage of these laws, those who do will have a much easier time. Follow along as we take a deep dive into the main tool of small estate laws - a small estate affidavit. [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! What is a small estate? A small estate in North Carolina is any estate valued at less than $20,000 if single or $30,000 if the only beneficiary is a surviving spouse. For a general idea of the size of an estate, you can calculate the value of any accounts, personal property and assets and subtract the amount of liens, and in some cases $60,000 of spousal support against that property. Type of liens Mortgage Home Equity Loan A Reverse Mortgage Tax Liens Mechanic Liens Judgement Liens Example Asset Value = $100,000 Liens = $30,000 $70,000 (Would not qualify for small estate affidavit) Asset Value - $100,000 Liens = $80,000 $20,000 (Would qualify for small estate affidavit) Note that certain assets like real property or life insurance policies doesn’t have to be included if they have a named beneficiary. A word of caution: if you plan on selling any real property within two years of the passing of the decedent (the person who died) then you should consult with an attorney before using a small estate affidavit. The funds from the sale of the real property may be counted towards the total estate amount and make some parties ineligible for the small estate affidavit. A Small Estate Affidavit in North Carolina? A small estate affidavit is a document that is filed by an individual (affiant) to petition for a portion of a deceased person’s estate. There is a 30-day waiting period before you can file a small estate affidavit in North Carolina. Who is eligible to file a small estate affidavit in North Carolina? As mentioned above, not all individuals are eligible to use a small estate affidavit in North Carolina. You can only use the affidavit if you have a legal claim to the estate of the deceased. You are able to file a small estate affidavit if you live out of state - you’ll simply have to complete paperwork (Form e500) to name a Resident Process Agent. That person is someone who is a North Carolina resident and accepts mail and other service of process information regarding estate matters. This video goes in-depth explaining the role of a resident process agent. How to Settle a Small Estate Affidavit in North Carolina There are two main ways to settle a small estate in North Carolina: summary administration and collection by small estate affidavit. If the spouse inherits everything, a summary administration is appropriate. If, however, there is more than one beneficiary of the estate, you can then use the small estate affidavit to bypass the probate courts. It’s important to remember that, although skipping probate will make the inheritance process much easier, it is still a detailed and complex process that is best handled by an experienced North Carolina estate and/or probate attorney and if real estate is involved find a certified probate real estate agent. The Small Estate Affidavit Process The first step in the process is to present a death certificate and general inventory of money, assets and personal property to the Clerk of the county in which the deceased resided. Once the necessary information has been provided, you will be named as “executor” for the estate. This means that you will be responsible for paying any debts the estate has that are outstanding. After the payment of debts, you will be responsible for distributing any remaining funds, personal property and assets. This dispensation can be done either by terms of the will if there is one or in accordance with North Carolina intestacy law if a will doesn’t exist. How can an Estate or Probate Attorney Help Me With a Small Estate? The best way to execute a small estate affidavit is with the help of an experienced estate or probate attorney. They can use their years of experience and legal knowledge to carefully consider every aspect of the small estate to ensure that eligibility requirements are met and that the court has received all the proper documentation. The attorney can advise you of your options and let you know whether a small estate affidavit is right for you. Conclusion At North Carolina Probate Solutions, we understand that losing a loved one is a painful experience. We know that the last thing you need is to worry about is the dispensation of the estate. That’s why we work hard for all of our clients to help them navigate this trying time. If you are a resident of North Carolina who thinks they have claim to a small estate, contact us today to hear about your options. You can contact us here or by phone at 252-902-9006. Don’t get tied up in probate - Unravel the probate process with the professionals at North Carolina Probate Solutions. 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 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.
- THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LIVING TRUST AND A WILL
The probate process can be complex and confusing for those unfamiliar with the laws governing estates. Deciding between a living trust and a will is an important decision that requires careful consideration. This article will provide an overview of the differences between these two options, as well as the implications they have on the probate process. 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. Living Trust vs. Will A living trust is a legal document that places assets into trust ownership, allowing them to bypass probate court. A will, on the other hand, requires court approval before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries. This can lead to delays and added expenses in court fees and legal fees associated with the probate process. The choice between a living trust or a will should be made based on various considerations, including asset size and type of accounts held. In addition, should you choose to establish a living trust, you’ll need to factor in asset management fees and other costs associated with maintaining it. We’ll break down all of these considerations for you in this article so you can make an informed decision about which option is best for your situation. What Is the Probate Process? When it comes to estate planning, the probate process is an important factor to consider. Probate is a legal process that distributes the assets of a deceased person to their heirs as outlined in their will or living trust. It's a way for the court to ensure the deceased person's wishes are met and that their heirs are properly taken care of. Simply put, the probate process is the method used to transfer ownership of a deceased person's property, such as houses, vehicles, and other belongings to their named beneficiaries or heirs. During probate, a court-appointed executor files paperwork with the court so that title, rights, and obligations are transferred accordingly. This is done through either a will or a living trust. The primary difference between these two documents is that with a will, all of the deceased person’s assets go through probate before they go to their heirs, while with a living trust, they do not need to go through probate which can save time and money when transferring ownership of assets. Living Trust Provides Benefits Over Wills. One of the biggest advantages of creating a living trust is that it avoids probate. Without a living trust, your heirs could end up dealing with the probate court for months or even years after your death. On the other hand, assets held in a living trust can be transferred without going through probate. This saves your heirs the time, expense, and hassle of working through the process. Property held in a living trust also passes directly to beneficiaries without any delays or hassles associated with probate. Additionally, if you have minor children, you can designate in the living trust who will care for them in case something happens to you and your spouse. You may also include instructions regarding when and under what circumstances they will receive their inheritance from the trust. This helps ensure that your children are taken care of after you are gone. What Happens If a Will Is Not Entered Into Probate? When you pass away, your will needs to be legally entered into the probate court system. This is known as probating a will. During the probate process, the court reviews and verifies the validity of a will and apportions assets and liabilities according to its instructions. But what happens if the will is never entered into probate? In that case, the will is invalid, so all of your assets and liabilities must be divided in accordance with the laws of intestacy. These laws vary from state to state but generally involve distributing property among surviving relatives, beginning with the closest family members. What Rights Do the Beneficiaries of the Trust Have? One of the most important things to understand when considering a living trust is what rights the beneficiaries will have. The answer depends on the type and structure of the trust, but generally, beneficiaries can expect: Access to all information about the trust and its assets Right to receive and trade trust assets as stated in the documents Right to contest any provisions of the trust which they do not feel are fair or just Right to receive regular payments from income generated by trust assets, as determined by the terms of the trust agreement Right to be informed of any changes in trusteeship or other relevant changes occurring in relation to the trust Right to seek additional information with regards to their rights under a living trust Dependent upon state law, right to enforce full or portion payment of their entitlement under the living trust, if needed It is important for anyone considering a living trust to be aware of these rights so they can make an informed decision about how best to protect their assets and provide for their family's future. What Are Trustee's Duties in Administering a Living Trust? When you create a living trust, you are responsible for appointing a trustee to manage and administer the trust assets. This person is responsible for ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that the process is handled efficiently and effectively. The duties of a trustee in administering a living trust include: Investing assets in accordance with state law and the terms of the trust Distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust Maintaining records, such as tax returns, asset evaluations, and other paperwork related to trust management Monitoring trusteeship fees charged by service providers Obtaining legal advice regarding distribution of trusts or settling disputes between beneficiaries Filing tax returns when applicable Ensuring benefits eligibility for beneficiaries who are receiving government benefits like Social Security or Medicaid Assigning specific duties to an appropriate fiduciary if necessary These duties all serve to ensure that your wishes in establishing the trust remain fulfilled after your death. How to Help Your Heirs Avoid the Probate Process Deciding between a living trust and a will can be overwhelming, but the reward of streamlining your heirs' probate process makes it worth the effort. There are several ways to help your heirs avoid the probate process in both options: Living Trusts A living trust will bypass probate court, providing an easier and faster way for your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance. A living trust also offers flexibility, making it an attractive choice for families who want to designate special instructions for how their estate should be handled upon death. Wills While a will does not necessarily prevent your heirs from going through the probate process, there are certain steps you can take to make it less complicated. For instance, having “transfer on death” forms attached to your bank accounts or other financial assets will help ensure that those assets are transferred quickly and seamlessly after you pass away. Additionally, designating beneficiaries with life insurance or retirement plans may expedite the distribution process. Depending on your financial situation and wishes, you may find one option more suitable than another - consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is key when making this important decision. Summary All in all, the probate process can be a difficult one for those who are unfamiliar with it. Understanding the differences between a living trust and a will can help ensure that the process goes more smoothly. A living trust offers more flexibility and control, while a will is a good choice for those with a smaller estate. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your individual needs and preferences. It’s a good idea to work with an probate attorney and a certified probate real estate agent, if real estate is involved, when considering which option is best for you, as they can provide valuable insights and advice, as well as guide you through the entire process. 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 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.
- North Carolina Intestate Estates – Part II
In a prior article about North Carolina intestate estates, the general intestacy rules in North Carolina were described, and the importance of having a valid Will to avoid these intestacy rules was discussed. To better understand North Carolina intestate estates, this article presents 10 examples that evidence the specific application of North Carolina’s intestacy rules and explain the specific problems that can arise when North Carolina’s intestacy rules govern instead of a valid Will that expresses a decedent’s testamentary intentions. 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. Example 1 Tom dies without a valid Will. Tom owns $600,000 of real property (real estate) and $360,000 of personal property. Tom is survived only by his wife, Mary. Under North Carolina’s intestacy rules, all of Tom’s real property and personal property transfers to Mary. Example 2 Example 2 is the same as Example 1, except that Tom is survived by his wife, Mary, and one child, Rachel. Under North Carolina’s intestacy rules, Tom’s real property transfers $300,000 (50%) to Mary and $300,000 (50%) to Rachel, and Tom’s personal property transfers $240,000 ($60,000, plus 50%of the $360,000) to Mary and $180,000 (other 50% of $360,000) to Rachel. Example 3 Example 3 is the same as Example 1, except that Tom is survived by his wife, Mary, and two children, Rachel and Jeff. Under North Carolina’s intestacy rules, Tom’s real property transfers $200,000 (1/3) to Mary, $200,000 (1/2 of 2/3) to Rachel, and $200,000 (1/2 of 2/3) to Jeff, and Tom’s personal property transfers $180,000 ($60,000, plus 1/3) to Mary, $120,000 (1/2 of 2/3) to Rachel, and $120,000 (1/2 of 2/3) to Jeff. Example 4 Example 4 is the same as Example 1, except that Tom is survived only by his two surviving children, Rachel and Jeff, and two grandchildren, Cole and Maria, who are the only children of Tom’s deceased child, Natalie. Under North Carolina’s intestacy rules, Tom’s real property transfers $200,000 (1/3) to Rachel, $200,000 (1/3) to Jeff, $100,000 (1/2 of 1/3) to Cole, and $100,000 (1/2 of 1/3) to Maria, and Tom’s personal property transfers $120,000 (1/3) to Rachel, $120,000 (1/3) to Jeff, $60,000 (1/2 of 1/3) to Cole, and $60,000 (1/2 of 1/3) to Maria. Example 5 Example 5 is the same as Example 1, except that Tom is survived only by his parents, Jack and Dorothy. Under North Carolina’s intestacy rules, Tom’s real property and personal property transfer 50% ($300,000 of real property and $180,000 of personal property) to Jack and 50% ($300,000 of real property and $180,000 of personal property) to Dorothy. Example 6 Peter desires that all of his property transfer to his wife, Julie. Peter dies without a valid Will. Peter owns $800,000 of real property and $560,000 of personal property. Peter is survived by Julie and his daughter, Victoria. Under North Carolina’s intestacy rules, Peter’s real property transfers $400,000 (50%) to Julie and $400,000 (50%) to Victoria, and Peter’s personal property transfers $340,000 ($60,000, plus 50%) to Julie and $280,000 (50%) to Victoria. Even though Peter’s testamentary intentions are for Julie to receive all of his property, North Carolina’s intestacy rules govern and require a different result. Example 7 Alice desires that all of her property transfer 15% to her son, Larry, 15% to her daughter, Michelle, and 70% to her grandchild, Elsa; Elsa is the only child of Alice’s deceased child, Felicia. Alice dies without a valid Will. Alice owns $300,000 of real property and $600,000 of personal property. Alice is survived by Larry, Michelle, and Elsa. Under North Carolina’s intestacy rules, Alice’s real property and personal property transfer 1/3 ($100,000 of real property and $200,000 of personal property) to Larry, 1/3 ($100,000 of real property and $200,000 of personal property) to Michelle, and 1/3 ($100,000 of real property and $200,000 of personal property) to Elsa. Even though Alice’s testamentary intentions are for a “15%-15%-70%” allocation of her property among Larry, Michelle, and Elsa as beneficiaries, North Carolina’s intestacy rules govern and require a different result. Example 8 Greg desires that all of his property transfer to a charity. Greg dies without a valid Will. Greg owns $1,000,000 of real property and $900,000 of personal property. Greg is only survived by his mother, Eleanor. Under North Carolina’s intestacy rules, all of Greg’s real property and personal property transfers to Eleanor. Even though Greg’s testamentary intentions are for a charity to receive all of his property, North Carolina’s intestacy rules govern and require a different result. Example 9 Diana desires that all of her property transfer to a trust for her son, Brian, with her sister, Angie, as trustee of the trust. Diana dies without a valid Will. Diana owns $500,000 of real property and $200,000 of personal property. Diana is only survived by Brian. Under North Carolina’s intestacy rules, all of Diana’s real property and personal property transfers “outright” (and not in trust) to Brian. Even though Diana’s testamentary intentions are for Brian to be a beneficiary subject to a trust with Angie as trustee, North Carolina’s intestacy rules govern and require a different result. Example 10 George desires that all of his real estate transfer to his son, Martin, and all of his personal property transfer to his daughter, Cindy. George dies without a valid Will. George owns $800,000 of real property and $500,000 of personal property. George is survived by Martin and Cindy. Under North Carolina’s intestacy rules, George’s real property and personal property transfer 50% ($400,000 of real property and $250,000 of personal property) to Martin and 50% ($400,000 of real property and $250,000 of personal property) to Cindy. Even though George’s testamentary intentions are for all of his real property to only transfer to Martin and for all of his personal property to only transfer to Cindy, North Carolina’s intestacy rules govern and require a different result. The Importance of Having a Will Examples 6 through 10 show the critical importance of having a valid Will for North Carolina decedents. In these Examples, the testamentary intentions of Peter, Alice, Greg, Diana, and George were thwarted by application of North Carolina’s intestacy rules. We all work hard to accumulate property during our lifetimes. We all have the right to generally control how this property transfers on death. By having an intestate estate (no will), a North Carolina decedent in effect surrenders this right to the state. No North Carolinian should make this mistake. Instead, North Carolinians should have valid Wills to express and carry out their testamentary intentions. Conclusion It is highly recommended that you speak with a probate or estate planning attorney to answer questions specific to your situation. If you need help in finding a trusted attorney reach out to me and I will refer you to one. 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 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.
- North Carolina Intestacy law: Who Inherits Property When There is No Will?
Before we begin, let's look at a few words to help you better understand this article. Decedent - Is the person who died Administrator, executor, personal representative - Is the person assigned to manage the decedent's assets. These three all have the same role. Assets - Anything that belonged to the decedent. ex. houses, boats, cars, money, stocks & bonds, furniture, appliances, land. Heirs - Usually it is close family: Spouse, children, parents, uncle, aunts, cousin Beneficiary - The person that the decedent named in the will or an account to receive certain or all assets. Who Does It Go To? North Carolina law provides that if someone passes away without a valid will (also known as dying intestate), North Carolina's intestacy laws will dictate how their property will be divided. The state's probate court will appoint an administrator to handle the distribution of the assets to creditors and beneficiaries. So, this question is often asked," Who inherits the property when there is no will?" Keep reading to find the answers. 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. What is Intestate Succession in North Carolina? North Carolina Intestate Succession Act dictates the lines of inheritance when there is no will. It names which surviving family members may be considered heirs and in what order of succession they stand to receive an inheritance. The law is complex and more so by family issues such as remarriage. Furthermore, most people who write a will leave their property to their immediate family. Thus, the North Carolina estate laws governing intestate succession generally distribute property in a similar way. The Intestacy laws try to mimic the final wishes of the average person. The Clerk of the Superior Court's Office in the county where the decedent last resided handles the probate process. The probate court will designate an estate administrator to take stock of all assets, settle any outstanding debts or taxes, settle burial expenses, and distribute any remaining funds or property to the beneficiaries. Property exempted from North Carolina Intestacy law Because of the contractual nature of some assets, they are not subject to probate. Such Assets are distributed directly to beneficiaries without the need for a Will or the application of intestacy laws. Policies and accounts such as retirement funds and life insurance often have beneficiaries named. Also excluded from probate would be any other assets held in a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship. Tenancy by the entirety is the most common form of joint property ownership for North Carolina's married couples. When one dies, the surviving spouse automatically takes over the deceased's part of the property, if they purchased the property together at the same time. If your spouse owned the property before you were married or he later purchased a piece of property in his name only while you were married, I would suggest you read the article "Surviving Spouses Property Rights in North Carolina" to get an understanding of your rights as well as speak with a probate or estate planning attorney to advise you. Who inherits property when there is no will? According to the North Carolina intestate succession laws, who inherits property depends on the deceased marital status at death and the number of surviving relations. Also, for married decedents, the distribution of property will depend on whether the property is real or personal property and whether you have surviving parents or children. The following shows how property is shared among survivors according to intestate statutes: Where the deceased was single with living parents If only the parents survive an unmarried decedent, then all the assets will be divided evenly between both parents. However, if there's only one surviving parent, they will inherit all property. Where deceased has a living spouse Without living parents and children, the surviving spouse takes possession of all property. Where the spouse and parents are living A common misconception is that if one does not make a will, their spouse will be the sole beneficiary of their estate. In some instances, this may be true, but in most cases, it is not. If there are no children in the family, but the spouse and parents survive, the spouse will get half of the real estate and the first $100,000 in personal property. The surviving spouse will receive half of the excess if there is more than $100,000 in personal property. In North Carolina, if your spouse's parent(s) are alive and your spouse did not have any children, his parent(s) are entitled to receive half of the real estate and the remainder of the personal belongings. Spouse and one child, or child's descendants, are alive The surviving spouse will inherit the first $60,000 value of the decedent's personal property and half of the excess. The child will get the remaining personal property. However, the spouse and child share in the real estate equally. However, if the child is deceased, the grandchildren will inherit instead. Spouse and two or more children or the decedents of the children are alive In line with North Carolina Intestacy law, the first $60,000 in personal property and one-third of the remaining personal property goes to the surviving spouse. Likewise, one-third of the real estate. The surviving children (or their descendants ) get an equal share of the remaining personal and real property. Where the deceased is survived by children only or their descendants Where only the children survive, they will all receive an equal share of the property and real estate. In the case of a single child, all assets are passed on to that child. However, if a child predeceases the parent, their inheritance will go to their direct descendants. Where there is no spouse, child, or parent alive. The laws governing intestacy offer further guidelines for allocating the decedent's assets equally among more distant relatives, such as siblings, grandparents, uncles, and aunts. The law also extends to nephews, nieces, cousins, etc. Where there are no surviving blood relations The State of North Carolina becomes the sole beneficiary of a deceased's property (a process known as "escheat") if there are no other surviving relatives or heirs. However, this seldom occurs because the law provides for the distribution of the estate to even the remotest of relations to the decedent. Most people without relatives would instead give their estate to a favorite institution of higher learning or charity than let it go into escheat. Children's Shares According to North Carolina Intestacy law The state of North Carolina must recognize your children as your legal dependents/children before they can inherit from you under its intestacy statutes. Consider the following situations that might affect a child's inheritance: Adopted children. As with biological children, legally adopted children are entitled to an intestate share. However, foster or stepchildren not formally adopted will not necessarily inherit. Children placed for adoption. Biological children officially adopted by another family will not be entitled to a portion. However, if the spouse adopts the decedents, biological children, it will not affect their intestate inheritance. Children born after a father's death. Children born within ten months after the parent's death will get a share of the intestate inheritance. Children born outside of marriage. Children born outside of marriage are entitled to an intestate inheritance only if they were officially legitimated and paternity was recognized. Suppose a child was born out of the marriage a year after the father's death. In that case, they could inherit if paternity was confirmed through DNA testing. Check out the article "North Carolina Intestate Estates – Part II" this article presents 10 examples that evidence the specific application of North Carolina’s intestacy rules and explain the specific problems that can arise when North Carolina’s intestacy rules govern instead of a valid Will that expresses a decedent’s testamentary intentions. Conclusions Hello, I'm Denise Davis. The owner of North Carolina Probate Solutions and a licensed realtor with EXP Realty. I chose to specialize in probate because I am also a registered nurse who have worked with hospice and palliative care patients and families and understand the stress probate can bring, especially while grieving. If you find yourself having questions or needing guidance with probate matters, please feel free to reach out to me. If you need to sell your loved ones home to pay off debt or to distribute funds to the heirs and/or beneficiaries lets talk to see how I can help you. I provide options, so whether it's listing your home on the market or getting you a fast cash offer I can help you. 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 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. Other Related Articles Understanding The Petition to Partition in Probate: Resolving Estate Disputes
- Surviving Spouses Property Rights in North Carolina
The emotional weight of grieving for a departed spouse can make an estate settlement challenging to manage. It is helpful for the surviving spouse to understand their marital rights in property and inheritance when they begin to deal with estate matters. Surviving spouses in North Carolina are guaranteed certain legal protections, including monetary support and a portion of marital assets. Let's look at the property rights of the surviving spouse in North Carolina. [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.] Property rights of the surviving spouse when there is no will North Carolina intestate succession laws dictate what happens to a person's property when they die without leaving a will (i.e., intestate). These statutes allow a surviving spouse to receive a portion of the deceased's estate. The amount of the inheritance depends on if the decedent also had surviving parents, children and whether the estate is real or personal property. Although common law marriage grants a lifelong companion certain legal protections and benefits, North Carolina law does not recognize such unions. The surviving spouse must be legally married to the deceased at their death to claim spousal rights. Suppose a couple is legally separated at the time of death. In that case, the surviving spouse does not receive any of the assets. Also, like other heirs under the Act, a surviving spouse must outlive the deceased spouse by 120 hours (5 Days) to gain property rights. The amount of the inheritance that the surviving spouse can get is determined by the following criteria: If there are no living children, grandchildren, or parents, the surviving spouse will inherit all of the decedent's estate, both real and personal. If the deceased had no surviving children or grandchildren but at least a living parent, then the spouse gets half of the real estate. The spouse also receives the first $100,000 plus half of the balance of the personal property. The surviving spouse is eligible to half of the real estate and the first $60,000 plus one-half of the balance of the personal property if there is only one surviving child or grandchild. The surviving spouse gets one-third of the real estate and the first $60,000 plus one-third of the balance of the personal property if the deceased left behind more than one child or grandchild. Property rights of the surviving spouse where there is a will A spouse cannot be disinherited under North Carolina law. Hence, if left out of a will, the surviving spouse can override the will and claim an elective share of the estate. A prenuptial agreement, however, could invalidate the surviving spouse's claim to an elective share. In North Carolina, a surviving spouse has six months from the issuing of letters of administration in conjunction with a will to make a claim for an elective share. Otherwise, the right is forfeited. All non-probate assets that go to a spouse apart from a will, such as insurance or joint property holdings, are factored into the elective share. In addition, according to the law, the elective share is determined by the length of the deceased spouse's marriage and is as follows: If the marriage lasted less than five years, the surviving spouse is entitled to fifteen percent of the total net assets. The surviving spouse is entitled to 25 percent of the total net assets if the couple was married for at least five years but less than ten years If the marriage lasted for between 10 years and 15 years, the surviving spouse is entitled to 33% of the total net assets. For a marriage that lasted more than 15 years, the surviving spouse receives 50% of the deceased total net assets. The Spousal Year's Allowance For the first year after a spouse's death, North Carolina law (N.C.G.S. 30-15 through 30-33) provides financial support for the surviving spouse. This provision is called a "year's allowance." The surviving spouse has a year from the decedent's death to apply for this benefit through the Clerk of Court. The value of the year's allowance is $60,000 and is only applicable to the deceased non-real estate property. The allowance is added to the surviving spouse's intestate portion if the decedent dies without a will. On the other hand, if the deceased left a will, the allowance will be subtracted from the surviving spouse's inheritance. Summary According to state law, a spouse in North Carolina has a right to an inheritance due to marriage. Provisions for spouses include elective shares, intestate rights, and the year's allowance. Thus, North Carolina law safeguards the property rights of the surviving spouse regardless of whether or not there is a valid will. Conclusion In the matter of surviving spouse rights in North Carolina, I highly recommend you speak with a probate or estate planning attorney to receive accurate information that is specific for your situation. Also, if you are in need of selling a home that has been included in probate or inherited, feel free to give me a call. [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 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.
- Some Quick and Easy Steps to Protect Your Home in a Storm
One of the scariest things about living in beautiful parts of the world is the extreme climates and frequent storms. Whether you live in Florida, facing seasonal hurricanes and storm surges or in some of the central states in the heart of Tornado alley, it can be rather terrifying making sure everyone you love is safe with the looming possibility of having to evacuate. If you have enough time to protect your home, there are several steps you can take to ensure it's ready for the worst. In this article, we will share some quick and easy ways you can protect your home in a storm. [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.] Check your roof Obviously, some storms that mother nature brings our way can not be avoided and unfortunately, we may not be able to take any measures to stop carnage and destruction. However, most of the time with a few simple steps you can greatly decrease damage to your house and home. Your roof's integrity is at risk at any time but especially during a storm of strong winds and heavy rain. Check for any damage beforehand, and if it looks ok you can do a little extra by sealing the chimney or vent pipes. This is a great way to limit water from seeping into your house. By cleaning your guttering and downspouts you help the heavy rainfall flow nicely into the drainage area. If not, it can flow over the side into areas of the house’s foundation which can create flooding and chances are the water will again find its way into your home. Seal the doors and windows Wind coming directly at your house will be pushed up, potentially lifting your roof, meaning rainfall coming into your home. Sealing the doors and windows can prevent water and wind from entering into any cracks, and entry points and forcing the wind in different directions. You can even make your own DIY storm shutters with ¾ inch marine plywood or metal storm panels. It is very important that these panels overlap each side of the window by 4 inches. Great for hurricanes and any storm with very strong winds. Clean up outside Anything in your yard is a potential projectile that may fly toward your house during the apex of the storm. Make sure you trim any trees with loose or dying limbs. Tie down any large garden furniture or items such as doghouses, boats, flowerpots, swings, etc. Trashcans and the like need to be secured or put in the garage to prevent them from flying at high speeds toward your house or a neighbors. To help your home against floods place sandbags outside of your home. Stacking them up to build a wall to stop the water from finding its way into the crevices and cracks in the foundation of your home. Preparing the inside of your home If you live in the colder part of the country where cold winters are a big factor for you and your home, there are a few things that can be done to help before the bad weather approaches. It is a good idea to have snow shovels and other equipment handy to remove snow in the aftermath. Having some rock salt somewhere is also a good idea to melt the ice on walkways, steps, and driveways. Insulating the attics, basements, and walls can help heat your home more effectively, as well as putting plastic over the windows. Power outages are notorious in winter storms so keeping warm is essential in such extreme weather. Conclusion It is good to always have some of this in store just in case a storm hits and you do not have time to go to the store to get some . In the situation that there is a flash flood or storm approaching it is just a matter of putting up the shutters and bringing in potential projectiles. Preparation goes a long way and even if you only have to use them once in a blue moon it is worth being prepared when you are protecting yourself, your family, and your home. Be safe. Be ready. If you have an inherited home, a probate home, or just a home you are wanting to sell, give me a call, and let's discuss the best options to get your home sold quickly and for the most money. I look forward to speaking with you. [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 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. Learn More: Using Paint Primer To Improve The Look of Your Inherited Home Can I sell my inherited house before probate is completed in NC? 7 Important Things You Need To Know: Inherited Property
- Using Paint Primer To Improve The Look of Your Inherited Home
Is there any point in using paint primer to improve the look of a house? It seems like we use it out of habit because we have been told to buy it and use it, but why do we go through these motions? Is it needed? And if so, why? The quick answer is yes, we do need it. In this article, we will discuss different types of primers and the best ways to apply them. [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.] Why we need a paint primer to improve the look of my inherited property If you are looking for the best results and want to do a proper job of painting your walls then make sure you use a primer. The reason primer is so important in the painting process is it helps produce a clean even coat which then seals the wall. This absorbs into the wall preventing moisture to build up. There are different primers for different solutions. Let’s focus on three. Stain-blocking primers Stain-blocking primers are self-explanatory, it helps block potential stains seeping through your paint job. Sometimes you may notice rust, grease, and residue creep through. This primer helps fight against that. Barrier primers For bathrooms, you would want to use vapor barrier primers to keep moisture passing through the walls exterior. Otherwise, you could notice damage to the wall’s insulation and the paint on the exterior of the wall. Bonding primers If you have a very glossy and slick surface the best primer to use is a bonding primer. Bonding primer is essential for the paint to adhere to the walls and prevent mildew and dampness from building up in bathrooms and kitchens. Using primer correctly Now we understand primers, the question is how do we use them? Always use primer on interior walls as it will help the paint stick and bring down the number of coats you will have to apply. When using the roller try to go from floor to ceiling applying an even coat and don’t leave any bare patches as this can affect your final color of paint, as well as the depth and texture of the coat. When using a handheld paintbrush to fill in those little gaps make sure you use the primer with long smooth strokes. Then go over it in different directions to spread and even out the primer. For any difficult areas, just use the tip of the brush. How much primer do I need? For most projects, a gallon should be enough to finish most painting jobs. However, it never hurts to have a little more just in case. Make sure you allow the primer to dry completely and you should give the base coat around 4 hours to set. At this point, the primer should be dry before you commence applying any more coats of paint. For this reason, many people will apply a primer in the afternoon or evening and then finish up painting the next morning knowing that it has had plenty of time to dry. If you don’t allow enough time for the primer to dry and you begin to paint over wet or moist primer it can cause smudging. This will ruin your coat. If you decide to leave the air conditioning on or leave a window open this will help the primer dry a little quicker. The key here is to be patient and not watch the paint dry but let it dry! Conclusion Now we are a little more educated on paint primer let's get to it and see those results for ourselves. Good luck and get painting! If you need help selling a home you inherited or a home that has been included in the probate process contact me or give me a call today. I'll be glad to share my expertise with you! [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 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. Learn More: Kitchen Maintenance - Boost the Value of Your Probate Home with these 7 Tips 9 Tips to for painting walls in your inherited home What things should I fix in my inherited house before I sell it? How a Probate Real Estate Agent Can Help You Sell Your Property?
- Kitchen Maintenance - Boost the Value of Your Probate Home with these 7 Tips
If you are looking to sell a home you inherited or that's been included in the probate process you want to pay special attention to certain rooms in the house. Since some feel that the kitchen is the heart of the home, this may be the area that you want to include in your budget for maintenance and repair. Here’s a checklist for you to prepare the kitchen to make a great impression, which will help you get top dollar for the house. [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.] Fix the Flooring The floor along with the walls can set the mood of the room faster than anything else. You want to use this resource to get the buyers interested and not chase them away. Buyers will not consider your home if the kitchen’s floor looks worn out and damaged. Consider installing new flooring or just thoroughly clean the one already in place. Install Kitchen Backsplash Installing backsplash is a great way to give your kitchen an extra bit of finishing touch while making a good impression on the buyers. You have beautiful options to choose from. There’s the glass tiles, stone tiles, stainless steel sheets, paint designs, and wallpaper. With the right choice of backsplash, you can make the kitchen a beautiful place to be in. Rejuvenate the Cabinets Painting the cabinets and making them look and smell fresh can make things better. Think about it, the cabinets take a lot of space in the kitchen. You can make this space look new, and the whole kitchen will look new also. They just have to match the general aesthetic feeling of the kitchen. Repair Leaky Faucets Showing a kitchen with leaky faucets does not speak good about the kitchen, and the house in general. It is a bad impression to make and can devalue the home. It makes the home feel ‘unready’. The sound from the leaky faucet is annoying, so get it fixed or replaced by a plumber before showing it to buyers. Upgrade Lighting Fixtures Add class and beauty, and increase the value of the home at the same time when you upgrade the lighting fixtures. Replace outdated fixtures and install new ones. You can take a kitchen from dim and dull to sharp and exciting with the right lighting. Redo the Walls Remember the walls and flooring go hand in hand in setting the general mood of a room. When fixing the floor, redo the walls too. A nice coat of paint can really change the feel of the home. If you are unsure what color you should chose ask the salesperson in the paint department which color seems to be the most desirable. Repair the Sink An aging sink is sad to look at. Think of all those stains and sometimes rust. Who would pay a high amount for a home with a sink that’s seen better days? If you want the value of your home to be where you want it to be (assuming: high), then get the sink repaired or replaced. Kitchen Maintenance Conclusion You don’t need to spend a lot of money on this checklist. Just make these parts of the kitchen look new again. When you carry out kitchen maintenance in such a way that the buyers love the kitchen immediately when they see it, you can recover the money you spent on it. If you are planning on selling a home that you have inherited or a home that is included in the probate process let's discuss what you need to do to get top dollar for the home. If wanting to sell it as is I'll show you how to quickly get a cash offer for the home. Call me today, I'll be glad to speak with you and share my expertise. [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 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. Learn More 24 Things You Need to Know About Selling a House in Probate in NC What things should I fix in my inherited house before I sell it? Can I sell my inherited house before probate is completed in NC?