How to Start an Estate for a New Executor in North Carolina

Duties of an Executor – Wake County Estate Lawyer

The typical estate administration case in North Carolina involves an executor who knows they are going to be the executor ahead of time. Sometimes the executor, either out of a desire to resolve things quickly or a lack of information, will immediately start handing out assets, selling cars, and directing the traffic of the estate. This is not the right way to start the administration of an estate and can cause a lot of problems.

When administering an estate, it is most important for a North Carolina Executor to be methodical and keep immaculate records. There is an order in which things should be done. While sometimes you can do things out of order without consequences, more often than not, some efforts will have to be made to clean up the mess caused by an overzealous North Carolina Executor.

Sometimes, an executor learns of their role only when a loved one or family member dies. An executor, whether they knew it was coming or not, has a lot of responsibilities with respect to an estate, and must abide by those rules or else face some personal liability.

The first thing an executor must consider is whether they really want to take on the role. Some will retain counsel to assist them. We are hired regularly by folks in Wake County, Durham County, Chatham County, Lee County, Harnett County, and elsewhere in North Carolina to represent Executors and make sure they settle a North Carolina Estate Properly. We are also retained regularly by attorneys in other states to do ancillary probate administration for property in North Carolina where the decedent was a resident of another state.

Some of the duties have to do with preserving property. Often, insurance will need to be maintained if it is reasonable to do so. Sometimes, storage will need to be obtain. Frequently, there are tax issues which need to be resolved, such as a final income tax return, or in certain cases, an estate income tax return or estate tax return. It is important for an executor to have some idea what they are getting themselves into, but sometimes the complexity of an estate will not reveal itself until later in the probate process.

To start with, the estate executor should file the original Will with the Clerk of Superior Court in the proper county, which will be the county that the deceased person resided at the time of death. The executor should also apply for Letters Testamentary, which are letters showing that the Court has granted authority to the NC Executor to handle the affairs of the estate. The executor will also swear an oath and sometimes will have to post a bond.

Before an executor can do anything under their authority as executor, they must do these things. An executor has to be appointed by the Court. After that, the executor then has to prepare an inventory, run a notice to creditors, close accounts, notify beneficiaries, pay debts, and handle a plethora of other things for the estate. Accountants, North Carolina Estate Attorneys, and others may need to be retained to help. Often, the attorneys’ fees will be paid by the estate and will be considered part of the costs of administration.

If you are named as the Executor of an estate and think you may need some assistance, Call (919) 244-2019 or Email [email protected] to reach a licensed NC Estate Attorney.