Probate and Estate Administration Resource Center
Probate is court-supervised estate administration. The probate process, in short, involves the administering and settling of an estate and estate assets after a person dies. North Carolina has very specific rules about how probate proceedings are done, with strict probate court oversight in place to ensure policy and designated probate procedure is followed to the "t". Probate will be required whether or not a person has a will, pending there were enough assets to the decedent's name to require administration. Not all assets require administration. For example, jointly owned accounts may pass directly to the surviving owner. Similarly, assets with beneficiary designations including IRAs, life insurance policies and annuities may not pass through the court probate process (unless the estate was named as the beneficiary).
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Probate can be time consuming, costly and difficult. If you're creating your own estate plan now, you should take the time to learn whether avoiding probate is possible in your situation, and, if so, how to get started. If you're the person handling an estate or a beneficiary of an estate, you should understand your rights and responsibilities under the North Carolina probate laws. A licensed and experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the complicated world of probate rules, probate administration, and estate planning with ease!