Originally written by Kim Whitley for Focus Newspaper
Handling an estate can be a difficult task. Fortunately, North Carolina offers some “short forms” of estate administration to make the process easier and avoid a full administration:
1. DMV Form MVR-317. If a vehicle is the only asset owned by the deceased, then a Form MVR-317 can be used to pass title.
2. Affidavit of Collection. If the personal property passing through an estate equals $30,000.00 with a surviving spouse as the sole heir, or $20,000.00 where there are other heirs, then an individual can perform an Affidavit of Collection. This process does not involve a notice to creditors, but it also does not cut off creditors’ claims.
3. Summary Administration. Where the surviving spouse is the only heir, any assets which pass through probate can be transferred by a Summary Administration Form. The spouse must sign a statement indicating that the spouse is accepting all liabilities which may be
incurred by the estate.
4. Year’s Allowance. North Carolina law allows a surviving spouse to claim $60,000.00 off the top of an estate, whether or not the decedent had a Last Will and Testament.
5. Limited Personal Representative. A Limited Personal Representative can be appointed to cut off claims and notify creditors in conjunction with some of the methods above.
6. Certificate of Probate. If property is owned jointly by husband and wife or is owned as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, then it passes automatically on death. If property is only in the name of one individual, then a Certificate of Probate must be issued to
pass title. Filing the Will is not enough.
Remember that it is important to determine what kind of estate is required. Failure to file
any kind of estate can often create larger problems that will have to be resolved later at greater
*DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information only. It is not intended as a source of legal advice, and no information
provided should be considered or relied upon as legal advice on any specific matter.