When a loved one dies, you may be the person responsible for making sure their personal and financial affairs are handled and distributed as they advised. Did the person leave a Will? What accounts and real property do they solely own? Does an estate administration need to be opened to distribute their assets? These are all important questions that will need to be answered. If the deceased did have a Will, the appointed Executor will be in charge of administering the assets and estate. If they did not leave a Will, the next of kin (Spouse or children) will be appointed as the Administrator of the Estate.

In general, handling someone’s estate means:

  • Determining all of the decedent’s assets or property (land, automobiles, boats, money, stocks, jewelry, or other items of value);
  • Identifying and notifying the creditors of the estate (the people or businesses to which the decedent owed money before his death (mortgage, car loan, credit cards) and the persons or businesses who are due money as a result of the decedent’s death (funeral home, hospital bills). A Notice to Creditors Ad will need to be published in the local paper for four (4) consecutive weeks;
  • Identifying and notifying the persons or organizations entitled to a share of the estate (spouse, children, friends, charitable or religious organizations);
  • Paying the decedent’s debts;
  • Filing accountings with the Clerk of Superior Court, showing income and disbursements, and distributing the rest of the estate as required by the decedent’s will or by intestacy law.