Many executors decide to hire a probate attorney in Sanford North Carolina to help them with the often time-consuming process of settling the estate. A probate attorney in Sanford North Carolina is familiar with state law regarding estates and how the local probate court works. While not every estate absolutely requires a probate lawyer, some surefire signs that you will most likely need one include:
Decedent’s Assets Were Not Transferred Outside of Probate
Probate is only concerned with those assets that the decedent’s estate owns after his or her passing. It is possible to transfer many assets outside of the probate process. Life insurance proceeds, funds from retirement accounts and funds from bank accounts can be transferred pursuant to a beneficiary designation form or through a payable on death designation. Other property that is owned as joint tenants with the right of survivorship can also pass outside probate. Assets help in a living trust also pass outside probate.
Estate Has More than $20,000 in Value
Like many other states, North Carolina has small estates laws that allow heirs to inherit without having to go through the full extent of probate. In North Carolina, these estates have a value under $20,000. This process allows a person to sign an affidavit and present it to the holder of the decedent’s assets, such as a bank account. It is not for use for estates that owns property.
Family Members Don’t Get Along
If the decedent had a prior marriage with children and a current spouse, children who will not understand having different splits of the inheritance or family members who have already threatened to use, it is likely that a lawyer will need to be hired. He or she can help safeguard the estate’s assets to the extent possible and defend against any frivolous lawsuit.