Shortcuts In Estate Administration

By David Hood
Partnership Chair

Originally written by Kim Whitley for Outlook 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.

About the Author
David W. Hood, Partnership Chair of the Firm, is a trial attorney in a wide-ranging civil practice with over 200 jury trials to his credit. His concentrations include Business Disputes, Construction Law, Personal Injury and Collections. He is also a certified mediator, helping to settle cases pending in both state and federal court. He recently finished his term as President of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, the organization for lawyers representing business interests in civil litigation. Mr. Hood has spoken to lawyers and industry groups on such topics as evidence rules, contractor liens on real estate and contract funds, underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage, litigation ethics, and real estate claims.