What Happens to Assets After Death in North Carolina?

When a person you love passes away, managing your grief and moving forward may seem difficult – if not impossible. While navigating unfamiliar legal processes is necessary during this time, it may also escalate the strain on your time and emotions. Depending on your relationship to the deceased person, you may bear significant legal responsibility when it comes to settling his or her affairs. As you unravel each step in the process following your loved one’s death, it is wise to engage legal guidance to help ease the burden of duty during your time of bereavement.

The Law Offices of Cheryl David serves individuals and families throughout Guilford County and North Carolina who have experienced the death of a loved one. After you have suffered a loss, our attorneys understand your desire for knowledgeable legal advice that is sensitive to your concerns. Our trusted team will work with you to manage each legal issue that your loved one’s passing entails. Whether you require assistance with insurance claims, asset protection or sustained guidance during the probate process, The Law Offices of Cheryl David is here for you. Our compassionate staff will endeavor to relieve your stress, while helping you to move forward and safeguard your loved one’s legacy. Please contact us to learn more about our services and to obtain answers to any legal questions you may have following your loved one’s death.

What happens to my loved one’s assets after he or she passes away in North Carolina?

After your loved one passes away, North Carolina law requires that his or her assets and property must be distributed to the appropriate parties. Different procedures exist for this process, depending upon the type of provisions your loved one made prior to passing away. Asset transfers may occur by any of the following means:

  • Pursuant to instructions in a will. If your loved one left a will behind, he or she is said to have passed away During the probate process, a local court must first validate your loved one’s will. Creditors must receive public notice of a time period during which they may lay claims against your loved one’s estate. Once an estate valuation and tax assessment takes place, any outstanding assets may be transferred to the appropriate heirs or beneficiaries according to your loved one’s will.
  • According to the intestate succession process.If your loved one neglected to create a will during life, he or she is said to have passed away intestate. Certain legal provisions called intestacy rules will guide the estate distribution process. Under these rules, family members such as spouses, descendants, and other close relatives are likely to inherit assets.
  • Via trust administration. If your loved one created a trust prior to passing away, his or her assets may pass to new owners based on the trust’s prearrangement. Depending upon what type of trust your loved one chose, certain levels of tax may also come due upon the transfer of assets. The good news is that trust administration typically occurs in a more straightforward manner, which means that assets may transfer at a faster speed than the probate process would generally allow.
  • Through assigning a joint owner.If you were named as co-owner on any of your loved one’s assets, you may become the sole owner of said assets upon your loved one’s death. These assets may require thorough re-titling in your name only, with the deceased person’s name being removed.

Some of your loved one’s assets, including life insurance policies, annuities, or other financial instruments, may involve a payout to one or more beneficiaries whom your loved one may have named in his or her policy agreement. Such death benefits frequently pass directly to the appointed beneficiary.

What are my obligations after my loved one passes away in North Carolina?

Your personal obligations regarding your loved one’s estate depend upon two factors: your relationship to the deceased person, and the level of estate planning which your loved one performed while living.

If your loved one prepared in advance by creating a will and/or trusts, the will’s executor and/or the responsible trustees will bear the weight of obligation to your loved one’s estate. If your loved one had a will, the appointed executor will supervise all elements of probate, including acting as liaison with the court system, creditors, appraisers, and heirs. If your loved one had a trust, the trustee(s) named in your loved one’s trust will handle asset management and distribution in accordance with the trust’s provisions.

If you are not an executor or trustee but simply an heir or relative of the deceased, you will not bear special responsibilities in relation to your loved one’s estate. However, your family may find it prudent to monitor any estate proceedings or trust administration to confirm that your loved one’s executor or trustee continue to enact their fiduciary duty in a trustworthy manner. If you have concerns that your loved one’s last will and testament may be invalid for any reason, you may also benefit from seeking legal advice on procedures for contesting the will. In this way, you may take steps to assure that your loved one’s true wishes are followed and that his or her legacy remains protected.

How can a The Law Offices of Cheryl David help my family following our loss?

At The Law Offices of Cheryl David, we focus our resources on assisting your family with the coping process following your loved one’s death. Our supportive legal team is ready to provide you with the advice you need, tailored both to your family’s situation and to the complex requirements of North Carolina law. Our attorneys will marshal their experience to provide you with good-faith guidance following your loved one’s death, regardless of your relationship to the deceased person. Whether you are an executor, heir, or other interested party, The Law Offices of Cheryl David can provide you with solid answers.

To learn more about the legal services we offer during probate, trust administration, and the process of winding up a deceased’s affairs, please call our offices today at (336) 547-9999 or contact us online. We offer service in Greensboro, NC, Guilford County, and the entirety of the state of North Carolina.

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