Probate is the legal procedure for settling an estate when someone dies. The estate could include real property (such as land and houses) as well as tangible and intangible personal property (such as a car, jewelry or a bank account).
If there is a will, the court will determine its legitimacy and allow interested parties the opportunity to contest the validity of the will.
If there is no will, an administrator will be appointed and the rules for distribution will be according to the North Carolina Intestate Succession Rules.
The amount of time needed to probate/administer an estate may vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate but usually takes up to 1 year and can be longer in many cases.
With advanced planning, the probate process can be minimized or avoided all together. In the event you are faced with having to go through the process, enlisting the aid of an attorney can help to eliminate costly errors, reduce the time needed to close the estate and remove the burden of administering the estate from overwhelmed and bereaved family members.
There is significant emotional trauma that is brought on by the death of a close family member. Survivors are left to navigate financial and legal hurdles of probating the estate of a deceased loved one.