Opening an Estate

You and your family cannot make a claim for legal damages without first appointing a personal representative to handle your loved one’s affairs. The personal representative will open an estate—all of your loved one’s personal property, belongings, and wealth.

An estate must be opened so that any of your loved one’s outstanding bills are paid, appropriate taxes are settled, and property is distributed to heirs. Evaluating your loved one’s estate may be difficult to do alone. At Henson Fuerst, our North Carolina wrongful death lawyers strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your family.

Appointing a Personal Representative

Your family can appoint a personal representative by visiting the courthouse in the county where your loved one lived and opening an estate. If your loved one died without a will, the personal representative is called the Administrator of the Estate. If your loved one had a will, the personal representative is called the Executor of the Estate.

In North Carolina, the law ranks potential personal representatives in this order:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Any heir of the decedent
  • Any next-of-kin of the decedent
  • Any creditor of the decedent
  • Any person of good character residing in the county
  • Any other person of good character

A personal representative has the legal capacity to act on behalf of the decedent’s estate to handle any financial, legal, or other important decisions for the decedent. The individual must be older than age 18, mentally competent, literate, and otherwise suitable as determined by the clerk of court.

The experienced North Carolina Wrongful Death attorneys at Henson Fuerst can help your family find a lawyer to appoint a personal representative. Call today at (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form to learn how we may be able to help. At Henson Fuerst, we will fight hard to ensure that your rights are protected.