How to Contest the Handling of an Estate in North Carolina

By Beverly Bird

Probate is often a difficult and contentious process. Emotions can run high, with grief at the forefront. Under the circumstances, it can be easy enough to come to the conclusion that the executor of your loved one’s estate is mishandling it. You have recourse if you’re correct: North Carolina law allows you to ask that the executor of the estate be removed from office.

Probate is often a difficult and contentious process. Emotions can run high, with grief at the forefront. Under the circumstances, it can be easy enough to come to the conclusion that the executor of your loved one’s estate is mishandling it. You have recourse if you’re correct: North Carolina law allows you to ask that the executor of the estate be removed from office.

Step 1

Gather hard proof of what you think the executor has done wrong. You’ll need legally acceptable grounds for your request; you can’t just complain that the executor is taking too much time or not keeping you informed. She must have mismanaged estate funds, stolen from the estate, or handled the deceased’s assets in such a way that it resulted in personal gain. Having a private financial interest in the estate can disqualify her. For example, she might be removed if she co-owned property with the deceased and is resisting its sale because she doesn’t want to lose money in the current economy. The court won’t take your word that she’s done something wrong; you’ll need to establish that your grounds occurred and prove it with documented evidence.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Step 2

File a verified petition for the executor’s removal with the clerk of the Superior Court. This step might be a bit of a challenge because forms for such documents are not readily available on the Internet, but you can stop by the courthouse and ask the staff for guidance – just don’t be surprised if you’re referred to an attorney. The process of presenting your complaint in the proper written form and meeting your burden of proof can be difficult. You must have standing to file the petition, meaning that you must be a beneficiary or be personally affected in some way by the mishandling of the estate.

Step 3

Attend a hearing before the clerk of the court. The clerk will schedule the date and time after you file the petition and will alert other interested parties that there will be a hearing to investigate your allegations. If your proof is sufficient, the clerk can revoke the executor’s authority to act on behalf of the estate – it’s not necessary to involve a judge in North Carolina, and a full-blown trial isn’t required.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Removal of an Executor Due to Hostility Toward Heirs

References

Related articles

Does the Executor of Will Debt Need a Beneficiary's Signature to Pay Off Assets & Debts?

When an individual creates a will, he will likely name a personal representative, or executor to handle his estate. The executor of an estate is charged with managing estate assets, including paying estate debts such as funeral expenses and estate attorney fees. The executor will also ultimately make distributions to those named in the will, known as the beneficiaries.

How to Find Out If an Estate Has Been Settled

Estate settlement occurs when the court approves the final report from the estate's appointed representative, usually an executor or administrator. The estate settlement process involves payment of the deceased's debts, final tax return fillings and the transfer and sale of assets with property and sale monies going to the deceased's heirs or will beneficiaries. Estate proceedings are a matter of public record, so if you need to know whether an estate was settled, you can find out by viewing the estate's court records. Finding out whether an estate is settled is useful in various situations, especially if you're a family member or will beneficiary who didn't receive your share, or a creditor who never received payment.

How to Prove an Estate Is Insolvent in Connecticut

When a person dies, his or her debts do not simply go “poof” and disappear. If an estate has any assets, all debts must be paid before beneficiaries can inherit anything. If the estate can’t pay its debts, it will be judged insolvent. You don’t necessarily need a lawyer to probate an estate in Connecticut. However, the procedures for settling an insolvent estate can be cumbersome.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

How to Settle an Estate After a Death Without a Lawyer

When it's time, a probate court will handle your estate. State law and court rules govern the process, so they can vary ...

How to Remove an Executor From a Will in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

A Personal Representative, or Executor, is appointed by the court in a probate proceeding to protect the assets of the ...

How to Find Out if a Person Died With an Estate

Almost everyone has an estate at the time of death: An estate is simply the property the person owned at the moment of ...

Trouble With an Executor

Just because your loved one trusted an individual enough to name her as executor of his will, doesn’t automatically ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED