The technical, legal definition of probate is the act of proving that a document purporting to be a will was signed and properly executed according to law, so that it can be accepted as a valid will. Generally, it also understood as the process by which the estate of a deceased person, whether they had a will or not, is administered.
The common terms “probating” a will and “administering” an estate are used to mean basically the same thing. In North Carolina, the legal authority that makes this initial determination is the Clerk of Superior Court. Every county has its own Clerk’s office with an Estates Division where wills are submitted for probate.
Probate is the process whereby the assets of a deceased person are distributed according to the directives of their will. In the case where there is no will, by the laws of intestacy, the estate is administered through intestate succession.
A well drafted, professionally prepared will is an excellent tool to streamline and make the probate process easier. Though, many people wish to avoid probate altogether — there are estate planning techniques that can be put into place to accomplish this.
When a person dies, there is an accounting of the probate assets. These assets are used to satisfy any valid debts or claims made against the estate according to a procedure provided by law. Once the debts are satisfied and the costs of administration are paid, the remaining probate assets are distributed to the heirs according to the will or by the rules of intestate succession (whichever applies).
However, not all the assets of a deceased person are probate assets and subject to this process, and probate is not necessary for every deceased person.
At The Doyle Law Offices, P.A. we have been helping families and individuals with the probate process for 20 years. When you hire our firm to assist with a will probate, you will receive individualized attention, compassion and professional representation to ensure that the wishes of the deceased and the best interests of the heirs are served to the fullest extent.