My mom passed away in NC on August 27th, 2016, intestate. I have two siblings, we are all in agreement about her wishes and also that I should be the executor. What do we need to do to settle her estate? It is a small estate, how do I become the executor? Can it be done without an attorney to adjudicate?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Yes, it can be done without an attorney. You need to get the forms either online at www.nccourts.org, or go and talk to the probate court clerk in the county where your mother lived at the time of her death. Preliminarily, you will need letters of administration which you have to fill out and file with the clerk. Be prepared with the names and addresses of your siblings and at least a rough list of what your mother owned at the time of her death as it will need listed on the preliminary inventory. You also will need the death certificate. Once you are appointed, you will need to open an estate bank account and get a tax id. number for the estate. You will then need to personally notify any creditors as well as publish a notice in the newspaper for 4 weeks. Then you will have to fill out a more thorough 90-day inventory. Once all the claims, if any, come in, you can pay any estate debts. You will have to file a final tax return by April of next year fro your mother. Once all claims are paid and tax returns filed, you can file a final accounting. Once confirmed by the court clerk, then you can distribute assets. Since your mother had no will, each si bling will share in her estate. If there are 3 of you, each will get approximately 1/3rd of the net estate.
This is not an exhaustive list. I don't know what your mother owns and owes. If its a very small estate (under $10,000) you might be able to use the simplified procedure of affidavit of collection and disbursement. If you can afford it, I would at least consult a probate attorney who practices in the county where the estate for your mother would be pending. Each county is like its own fiefdom and many have unwritten rules that only an attorney who is familiar with your county would know. Big ticket items like cars, land, antiques or collectibles need appraised and only by people who are approved by the county. Good luck.