Executor's Responsibilities in North Carolina

in Law


A portion of the following list is provided to you from the North Carolina Estate Settlement Guide. This is a checklist of what the Executor’s responsibilities are within the first month of being appointed. This is not to be considered legal advice and or a complete checklist of what is required of an Executor. It is provided as a very basic overview.  It is recommended that you consult with a licensed attorney in North Carolina with familiar with the Probate process and requirements. 

1. Complete all documentation necessary to become the personal representative (Petition for Letters and Oath at a         minimum);

2. Gather information on the decedent and the decedent’s probate assets (this is required for the Petition);

3. Make an appointment with the probate clerk (not always necessary);

4. Meet with the probate clerk (again, not always necessary);

5. Inventory Safe Deposit boxes (You may need a Court Order to open this if you are trying to do it before the Letters are issued by the Clerk);

6. Gather and protect estate property;

7. Retain experts (CPA’s, Attorneys, Financial Planners, for example);

8. Investigate potential wrongful death claims (you will have to disclose whether there is a potential wrongful death claim);

9. Obtain tax identification number (you will need this before you open an Estate Account);

10. Open estate bank account (using the tax identification number as the “social security number” so to speak of the Estate Account);

11. Pay the year’s allowance (if the surviving spouse requires it);

12. Activate or terminate government benefits;

13. Obtain prior tax returns;

14. Obtain death certificates (the funeral home usually orders these for the family when they burial arrangements are made. I would order at least 10);

15. Publish notice to creditors (cannot do this until the Letters have been issued by the Clerk);

16. Identify legal obligations of the decedent (creditors, etc.);

17. Start going through decedent’s personal effects to determine where assets may be held and or any liabilities he or she has outstanding;

18. Keep very detailed records on any checks deposited into the Estate Account as well as any checks written from the account;

19.  If you feel you cannot meet the obligations, you are permitted to forego the position and someone else can be appointed;

20. Call an attorney if you get too overwhelmed with the process!



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Sabrina Winters has 22 articles online

I am a Charlotte North Carolina Wills and Trusts attorney.  My Firm has assisted clients with Wills, Trusts, Tax Planning, Probate, and all other areas of Estate Planning for over a decade.

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Executor's Responsibilities in North Carolina

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This article was published on 2010/12/06