How is North Carolina estate administration handled?

If you choose to handle the North Carolina estate of a deceased loved one, there are many responsibilities you might face, including estate administration. When an individual dies without a will, the process is usually more complicated than when the deceased made previous arrangements regarding his or her estate. 

The North Carolina Judicial Branch states that the superior court of the state may choose a representative to handle this task, and understanding your duties during the process could help you handle them with greater confidence. 

Estate administration duties

Once you take on the responsibility of estate administration, there are several roles you take on. Depending on the assets included in the estate and what kind of debt the decedent left behind, such as: 

  • Acknowledging and paying remaining bills  
  • Totaling and confirming the decedent’s assets  
  • Distributing assets to heirs 

The law of intestacy may help you with the distribution of property when your loved one left no will, as it divides assets between surviving spouses and children. 

Types of assets

The assets you handle as the estate administration representative are typically different than those that pass through probate court. These are both tangible and non-tangible assets and may include valuable jewelry, bank accounts and vehicles. Assets that are in question, such as homes and other real estate, may pass through probate if there is no will in place. 

A North Carolina court will provide you with a letter of administration that officially names you as the decedent’s representative. You may need to provide proof of your loved one’s passing with a death certificate before you can take up the duties of estate administration