When a person dies, a process recognized as "estate administration" must be carried out. This refers to all the procedures which must be followed in distributing a person's estate to their heirs or devisees.
If the person who died made and executed a valid will in New Hanover County, North Carolina, the process of estate administration normally follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Commonly, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The executor is normally whoever stands to obtain the most money or property if the will is given effect, since that is the person who likely has the most incentive to do their part in seeing that the probate process plays out to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a New Hanover County, North Carolina will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
This is most commonly the person who would inherit most under the will, or under the intestacy scheme of North Carolina. Intestacy is when a person dies without having made a will, or if a will turns out to be invalid. The intestacy laws of each state govern how property is distributed in such a situation. In most states, it simply goes to the closest living relative.
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the person named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the New Hanover County, North Carolina court to be the executor.
Whoever is appointed to serve as executor, it is their job to act as the representative of the estate. Among other jobs, they have to account for the decedent's debts and assets, and inform any beneficiaries who might be unaware of the situation.
Can a New Hanover County, North Carolina Estate Administration Attorney Help?
Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a brilliant New Hanover County, North Carolina attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.