Many people have no idea what probate and trust administration actually means, except that it is something they may have to deal with when a loved one dies.
And what most people don’t understand is that probate and trust administration are two completely different legal processes. Some people will have their estate go through probate, and others will have a trust that is administered in a lawyer’s office.
To help you truly understand what probate and trust administration is, we’ve broken these topics down into two separate sections of this page. Almost everyone will have an estate go through probate when they die, but very few people will have a trust that needs to be administered.
The Probate Process in North Carolina
In North Carolina, when you die, your estate must go through the probate process. So if you own anything of value that must be passed on to your heirs, your estate will go through probate.
Probate is the process by which the courts oversee the deposition of your property, make sure your creditors get paid and pass on whatever is left to your heirs. The court will appoint a personal representative (aka executor) to manage this process and provide reports to the court.
The entire process has many downsides, including the following:
- It is lengthy. Probate in North Carolina can take between 6-12 months, in some cases even longer.
- It is a very public process. Many large creditors and other people who are looking to get at your money will monitor the probate filings to see who your heirs are and what they will be receiving as an inheritance.
- Probate is expensive. Although the actual court costs will vary with the size of the estate, the overall cost of probate (including appraisal fees, executor fees, legal fees, etc.) is typically 3-5% of the gross estate.
For these reasons, many people elect to use trust-based planning to allow their estate to avoid the probate process entirely.
How Your Heirs can Benefit from Trust Administration
Imagine if, instead of having the probate court split up what is left of your assets after creditors, lawyers, the courts, and other fees are paid, your heirs can deal with this swiftly and painlessly in the comfort of your lawyer’s office?
Everything stays private, the courts don’t get involved, your wishes are respected, and although there are still some costs involved, they are much less than the costs to have your estate go through probate.
Sound too good to be true?
It’s not. If you put in place a trust-based plan, you can help your family avoid the negative consequences of the probate process when you die.
Here are just a few of the benefits you will enjoy when using a trust-based plan:
- You maintain complete control over the trust assets and can amend or revoke the trust at anytime
- You can plan for your disability
- Your plan will reflect your love and the values you hold dear
- You trust will be administered privately and quickly, with minimal expense after your passing
How We Can Help with Probate and Trust Administration
Get the peace of mind that has been missing from your life by creating a wealth continuity plan for your family. Or, if you have recently lost a loved one, and aren’t sure what to do next, you should contact a North Carolina probate and estate lawyer or call our office at (919) 883-4861 to determine your options.