Letter of testamentary North Carolina (processes + Free sample)

This post covers everything you need to know about the Letter of testamentary North Carolina.

Here you will learn

  • What is a Letter of testamentary North Carolina
  • How do I get a letter of testamentary in NC?
  • How much does an estate have to be worth to go to probate in NC?
  • How long do you have to file probate after death in North Carolina?
  • Can an estate be settled without probate in NC?
  • etc

Let’s dive right in

What is a Letter of testamentary North Carolina

A letter of testamentary in North Carolina is a legal document issued by the clerk of the superior court in a county following the proper application for the purpose of appointing an Executor of the estates of a person who dies testate (leaving a Will).

No one can act as executor until the clerk issues Letters Testamentary.

Through Letters Testamentary the clerk appoints a personal representative, typically an executor named in the will, to collect the assets, pay the debts and expenses, and then distribute the remaining estate to the beneficiaries (those who have the legal right to inherit), all while under the supervision of the court.

A testamentary letter is not the same as a letter in the traditional sense.

People are confused because they go to a bank and the bank says, “Well, you need Letters,” and then they call a lawyer and say, “Can you write me a letter, I need a letter,” but it’s not a written letter; this is something that comes from the court.

Testamentary Letters are the authorization document that gives the personal representative the right to go out and deal with the decedent’s assets.

How do I get a letter of testamentary in NC?

In order to get a letter of testamentary in North Carolina, you must lodge a formal application to the superior court in the county where the decedent lived, through Form AOC-E-201. On that form, you must indicate that you petition for probate of will and letters testamentary and it must be accompanied by the will, death certificate, and other documents.

The following is the information that you will need to properly apply for the letter of testamentary in North Carolina

  • Full Legal Name of the Decedent
  • Decedent’s Address at time of death
  • Place of Death (if different than domicile)
  • Persons entitled to share in the decedent’s estate (including full names, ages, relationships to the decedent, and mailing addresses)

Therefore before starting the application process the first step is to determine whether the deceased person had a Last Will and Testament and gather all the necessary information about the deceased person’s family and assets. This is because Page 2 of Form AOC-E-201 requests a preliminary inventory of the decedent’s assets and values

After that you must, determine the appropriate county for filing. The appropriate county in which to open this estate will depend on the decedent’s “domicile.” If a decedent was not domiciled in North Carolina at the time of death, the estate may be administered in any North Carolina county in which the decedent left any property or assets or into which any property or assets belonging to the estate may have come.

The Clerk will issue an “Order Authorizing Issuance of Letters” after receiving all required documentation and determining that the decedent’s will is confirmed to be legitimate. This order is provided as Form AOC-E-402, which can be filed to the Clerk with the necessary documentation.

after the order is signed and filed the Clerk will provide (5) certified Letters Testamentary to the applicant. You may request additional copies after paying the applicable fees.

The letter of testamentary in NC is provided as Form AOC-E-403.

The process of getting a letter of testamentary in NC is governed by North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 28A

How much does an estate have to be worth to go to probate in NC?

To go to probate in NC Net Value of the Estate must Exceed $20,000 or $30,000 if the surviving spouse is entitled to the entire estate. Further in NC probate is necessary only when a person dies leaving the property in his or her own name for example Bank accounts in the decedent’s name with no co-owner and no beneficiary designation, a house titled only in the name of the decedent, etc.

The estate that its Net Value Does Not Exceed $20,000 or $30,000 if the surviving spouse is entitled to the entire estate is handled through Administration by Affidavit or Summary Administration.

How long do you have to file probate after death in North Carolina?

According to North Carolina General Statutes § 28A-2A-1 any executor named in a will may, at any time after the death of the testator, apply to the clerk of the superior court, having jurisdiction, to have the will admitted to probate. However § 28A-2A-2 is to the effect that If no executor applies to have the will proved within 60 days after the death of the testator, any devisee named in the will, or any other person interested in the estate, may make such application, upon 10 days’ notice thereof to the executor.

Thus, according to § 28A-2A-1 and § 28A-2A-2 of the North Carolina General Statutes, you have 60 days to file probate after death in North Carolina.

Can an estate be settled without probate in NC?

Yes If the estate isn’t too large, North Carolina provides a unique way for winding up an estate without going through formal probate by seeking authorization from the local probate (superior) court. The methods that are available in lieu of the formal probate process are Claiming Personal Property With an Affidavit and Summary Probate.

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Isack Kimaro
Isack Kimaro

Editor-in-chief and founder of sherianajamii.com. Holder of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Lawyer by profession and blogger by passion