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Thursday, July 23, 2020

How Long Does an Executor Have to Settle an Estate in North Carolina?

The executor plays a crucial role in the probate of a decedent’s estate. As executor, the person assuming this position must manage the estate of the decedent throughout the probate process. The executor must inventory and manage property of the estate. All potential creditors of the estate must be notified by the executor of probate proceedings. All creditor claims found to be valid must be paid as do outstanding taxes of the estate. The executor is also responsible for distributing the remaining assets of the estate after all debts and taxes have been paid to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the decedent’s will. All of this can take a significant amount of time. It is not uncommon for probate to last several months or even years to wrap up.

How Long Does an Executor Have to Settle an Estate in North Carolina?

While there is no set deadline for when an executor must settle an estate in North Carolina, as previously stated it can take several years for this to happen, the executor is responsible for meeting several key deadlines throughout probate proceedings. For instance, within 75 days of appointment as executor, or personal representative, of the estate, it is required that known creditors of the estate are notified in writing of the decedent’s death. These creditors must also be notified of the right to assert a claim against the estate for covering the outstanding debt.

Additionally, the executor is responsible for filing a final accounting with the court which brings an end to the probate process by showing the court how he or she managed and distributed the remaining property of the estate. While the executor can provide this to the court at any time after the settling of the creditor’s claims, it must be accomplished within a year of the start of probate proceedings. If the executor cannot provide a final accounting within a year, then a year’s extension must be requested. If the court grants the extension, the executor will be responsible for filing an annual accounting of the estate with the court at the 12-month mark. At the 12 month mark, the year extension will kick in and the executor will have another 12 months before the final accounting becomes due once again.

Along with these official deadlines, the executor also has unofficial deadlines as beneficiaries of the estate may get combative if proceedings draw out for too long. Loved ones set to inherit from the decedent’s estate may very well be anxious to receive what they feel entitled to from the estate. They cannot do so, however, until the estate is settled and all creditors of the estate have been paid. The pressure from impatient beneficiaries can feel more stressful than any pending deadline established by law that has been placed on the executor of an estate.

Estate Planning Attorney

The probate process following the death of a loved one can be a difficult and frustrating time. There are specific requirements that must be met as the estate winds its way through the probate process. Talk to us at Monk Law. We can shoulder the legal burden that comes with the probate process and are here to support you in any way we can. Contact Monk Law today.


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