The purpose of probate is to distribute a person's estate after his/her death according to the directives in the Will. When a person dies, with or without a valid Will, the person's probate assets and property must first be used to satisfy debts. After all debts are paid, the remaining probate assets and property are distributed among persons named in the Will or, if the person died without a Will, distributed among the family members specified by North Carolina law.
Is probate necessary? If the person who died did not have any property to transfer, probate is usually not necessary. The deceased person’s survivors may decide to open a probate if there are debts owed or if there is a need to set a deadline for creditors to file claims.
Does all property go through probate when a person dies? No. The term "probate estate" refers to any property subject to the authority of the Clerk of Superior Court. Assets distributed outside the probate process are part of a person's “non-probate estate.”
For more information regarding the probate of wills, you may visit the Estates Division on the 12th floor of the Wake County Courthouse.
Please see Directions for our location and directions.