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The Plain English Attorney

The Common Response

The usual, flippant answer is: It’s the court system, it’s the government bureaucracy  ̶  of course it’s going to be complicated. Maybe that has something to do with it, but there really are some good reasons why they make the process so complicated.

The Real Explanation

They make it complicated because, in the past, people have tried to find ways to funnel money out of the estate, in other words, stealing. The abundance of proof and documentation required does lead to the complexity of the process. It does mean that it takes a lot of time to gather that information. But there is some good reasoning behind it. They want to make absolutely sure that everybody gets exactly what they are supposed to receive.

The court wants to see copies of cancelled checks and invoices. They want to make sure that everything that has been paid out of an estate has been properly done. They need to know that everything going to the beneficiaries is exactly how it is spelled out in the will or under law if there isn’t a will. They need to make sure that everything balances down to the penny, and they need proof and receipts to confirm all the transactions.

Now there are some ways that people use to avoid probate. Some of them are good, some of them work, and some of them don’t. By and large, though, if the asset is in probate then the court is going to make sure that every penny is accounted for. Probate is complicated, but that is part of what we’re here for, it’s part of what we do. We work with setting up estates and administering them.

If you have any questions or would like more information on the probate process, you can visit our website at A complimentary copy of my book, Six Steps to Take When Someone Passes On, is available if you are a North Carolina resident or if the deceased was from North Carolina. You are also welcome to contact our office: (919) 844-7993.

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