Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in North Carolina

My dad died 10/1/2012 at 86. He left a will. My step mom filed for a years support, $20,000. She got the car, all his money (about $70k) with a lifetime right to the house. The will left his personal property & house to his children. Is the $20k to come out of the children's inheritance? It has been estimated the personal property is worth about $10k. Will we have to sell the house to satisfy this?

Asked on 3/01/13, 4:32 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

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I would need to see the will, but if the wife has a life estate in the home, then it cannot be sold anyway unless everyone (the children and the wife) all agree to sell the home.

The stepmother receives the year's allowance which comes before the claims of any creditors. So this has to be satisfied out of the estate assets first along with other priority expenses. Where does the $70,000 come from? What is its source? Life insurance? Or bank/stock broker accounts? If bank accounts, how were these titled? The car and personal property might be enough to satisfy it depending on the value of the car. However, any attorney would need to know the exact source of the $70,000.

If the $70,000 came from a non-probate asset, then that $70,000 cannot be used to satisfy the year's allowance. The year's allowance only comes from probate assets. If the $70,000 came from a probate asset, the value of the car and whatever is left can go to the wife to satisfy her year's allowance. The other money and everything else would then go to pay any debts/claims of the estate. Assuming that debts are minimal, then the house should not have to be sold.

If there is a will, who is the executor of the estate? The executor, if he/she has not already done so, should hire an attorney to help with probating the estate.

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3/01/13, 11:11 pm

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