North Carolina Statutes

Chapter 28A Administration of Decedents' Estates

Article 1 - Definitions and Other General Provisions.

Article 2 - Jurisdiction for Probate of Wills and Administration of Estates of Decedents.

  • § 28A-2-1   Clerk of superior court
    The clerk of superior court of each county, ex officio judge of probate, shall have jurisdiction of the administration, settlement, and distribution of estates of...
  • § 28A-2-2   Assistant clerk of superior court
    An assistant clerk of superior court shall have jurisdiction as provided by G.S. 7A‑102. (1973, c. 1329, s. 3.)
  • § 28A-2-3   Jurisdiction where clerk interested
    Whenever the clerk of superior court is a subscribing witness to a will offered for probate in his county or has an interest, direct or...

Article 3 - Venue for Probate of Wills and Administration of Estates of Decedents.

  • § 28A-3-1   Proper county
    The venue for the probate of a will and for all proceedings relating to the administration of the estate of a decedent shall be: (1)...
  • § 28A-3-2   Proceedings to determine venue
    (a) If proceedings are commenced in more than one county or if upon commencement of a proceeding a question arises as to the proper county...
  • § 28A-3-3   Procedure after determination of improper appointment
    Where a person has been improperly appointed, and a different person in another county is determined under G.S. 28A‑3‑2(a) to be the properly appointed personal...
  • § 28A-3-4   Liability of personal representative appointed in improper county
    When a personal representative has been appointed in an improper county, and a different person in another county is determined under G.S. 28A‑3‑2(a) to be...
  • § 28A-3-5   Waiver of venue
    If questions as to priority of venue are not raised within three months after the issuance of letters testamentary or letters of administration to the...

Article 4 - Qualification and Disqualification for Letters Testamentary and Letters of Administration.

Article 5 - Renunciation by Personal Representative

  • § 28A-5-1   Renunciation by executor
    (a) Express Renunciation by Executor. Any person named or designated as executor in a duly probated will may renounce the office by filing with the...
  • § 28A-5-2   Renunciation of right to administer
    (a) Express Renunciation. Any person entitled to apply for letters of administration may renounce the office by filing with the clerk of superior court a...

Article 6 - Appointment of Personal Representative.

Article 7 - Oath.

  • § 28A-7-1   Oath required before letters issue
    Before letters testamentary, letters of administration or letters of collection are issued to any person, he shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation before...

Article 8 - Bond.

Article 9 - Revocation of Letters.

  • § 28A-9-1   Revocation after hearing
    (a) Grounds. Letters testamentary, letters of administration, or letters of collection may be revoked after hearing on any of the following grounds: (1) The person...
  • § 28A-9-2   Summary revocation
    (a) Grounds. Letters testamentary, letters of administration, or letters of collection, shall be revoked by the clerk of superior court without hearing when: (1) After...
  • § 28A-9-3   Effect of revocation
    Upon entry of the order revoking his letters, the authority of the personal representative or collector shall cease. He shall surrender all assets of the...
  • § 28A-9-4   Appeal; stay effected
    Any interested person may appeal from the order of the clerk of superior court granting or denying revocation. The procedure shall be the same as...
  • § 28A-9-5   Interlocutory orders
    Pending any proceeding or appeal with respect to revocation of letters, the clerk of superior court may enter such interlocutory orders as are necessary to...
  • § 28A-9-6   Appointment of successor to personal representative or collector whose letters have been revoked; when not required
    Upon the revocation of letters issued to a sole or last surviving personal representative or collector, the clerk of superior court shall appoint another personal...
  • § 28A-9-7   Rights and duties devolve on successor
    After the revocation of letters pursuant to this Article and upon the qualification and appointment of a successor, the substituted personal representative or collector shall...

Article 10 - Resignation.

  • § 28A-10-1   Clerk's power to accept resignation
    The clerk of superior court in the county where a person has been appointed personal representative shall have the power to accept his resignation. (1973,...
  • § 28A-10-2   Contents of petition; notice
    (a) When a personal representative desires to resign his office, he shall file a verified petition in the office of the clerk of the superior...
  • § 28A-10-3   Statement of account; record of conduct
    When the personal representative files his petition requesting permission to resign his office, he shall also file a verified statement of: (1) His accounts since...
  • § 28A-10-4   Hearing; order
    The clerk of superior court shall conduct a hearing on the petition not sooner than 10 days nor later than 20 days after notice to...
  • § 28A-10-5   When resignation becomes effective
    The resignation shall not become effective until: (1) A successor has been duly qualified, unless G.S. 28A‑10‑8 is applicable; and (2) The clerk of superior...
  • § 28A-10-6   Appeal; stay effected
    Any interested person who has appeared at the hearing and objected to the order of the clerk of superior court granting or denying resignation may...
  • § 28A-10-7   Rights and duties devolve on successor
    Upon the qualification and appointment of a successor to a personal representative whose resignation has been allowed as provided in G.S. 28A‑10‑4, the substituted personal...
  • § 28A-10-8   When appointment of successor to personal representative who has resigned is not required
    When two or more personal representatives have qualified, and one or more personal representatives resign pursuant to this Article, leaving in office one or more...

Article 11 - Collectors.

  • § 28A-11-1   Appointment and qualifications of collectors
    When for any reason other than a situation provided for in Chapter 28B or Chapter 28C entitled "Estates of Absentees in Military Service" and "Estates...
  • § 28A-11-2   Oath and bond
    Every collector shall take an oath as prescribed in G.S. 28A‑7‑1 and give bond as required in Article 8 of this Chapter for personal representatives....
  • § 28A-11-3   Duties and powers of collectors
    (a) Every collector shall: (1) Take such possession, custody, or control of the personal property of the decedent as in the exercise of reasonable judgment...
  • § 28A-11-4   When collectors' powers cease; settlement of accounts
    (a) When letters testamentary or letters of administration are issued, or when in any case the clerk of superior court terminates the appointment of the...
  • § 28A-11-5   Compensation
    A collector shall be compensated in accordance with Article 23 of this Chapter. (1977, c. 814, s. 4.)

Article 12 - Public Administrator.

  • § 28A-12-1   Appointment and term
    There shall be a public administrator in every county, appointed by the clerk of superior court, with the written approval of the senior resident superior...
  • § 28A-12-2   Oath of office
    The public administrator shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation in the form provided in G.S. 11‑11 for administrators and in the manner provided...
  • § 28A-12-3   Qualification and bond
    (a) The public administrator shall qualify and give bond with regard to each estate administered by him as provided in Article 8 of this Chapter,...
  • § 28A-12-4   When public administrator shall apply for letters
    The public administrator shall apply for and may, with the approval of the clerk of superior court, obtain letters on the estates of decedents when:...
  • § 28A-12-5   Powers and duties
    (a) The public administrator shall have, in respect to the several estates in his hands, all the rights and powers and shall be subject to...
  • § 28A-12-6   Removal from office
    If letters of administration issued to the public administrator with respect to any estate are subsequently revoked on the grounds that they were obtained by...
  • § 28A-12-7   Procedure after removal from office
    The clerk of superior court shall require of any public administrator who is removed from office pursuant to G.S. 28A‑12‑6 a complete accounting of all...
  • § 28A-12-8   Compensation
    A public administrator shall be compensated in accordance with Article 23 of this Chapter. (1977, c. 814, s. 5.)

Article 13 - Representative's Powers, Duties and Liabilities.

Article 14 - Notice to Creditors.

  • § 28A-14-1   Notice for claims
    (a) Every personal representative and collector after the granting of letters shall notify all persons, firms and corporations having claims against the decedent to present...
  • § 28A-14-1.1   Validation of certain notices
    (a) Any notice to creditors published or posted under G.S. 28A‑14‑1 which did not, in the advertisement, name the day after which claims could not...
  • § 28A-14-2   Proof of notice
    A copy of the notice directed by G.S. 28A‑14‑1(a) to be posted or published, together with an affidavit or affidavits of one of the persons...
  • § 28A-14-3   Personal notice to creditor
    The personal representative or collector may cause the notice to be personally served on any creditor. (1868‑9, c. 113, s. 32; Code, s. 1424; 1885,...

Article 15 - Assets; Discovery of Assets.

  • § 28A-15-1   Assets of the estate generally
    (a) All of the real and personal property, both legal and equitable, of a decedent shall be assets available for the discharge of debts and...
  • § 28A-15-2   Title and possession of property
    (a) Personal Property. Subsequent to the death of the decedent and prior to the appointment and qualification of the personal representative or collector, the title...
  • § 28A-15-3   Nonexoneration of encumbered property
    When real or personal property subject to any lien or security interest, except judgment liens, is specifically devised, the devisee takes the property subject to...
  • § 28A-15-4   Encumbered assets
    When any assets of the estate are encumbered by mortgage, pledge, lien or other security interest, the personal representative may pay the encumbrance or any...
  • § 28A-15-5   Order in which assets appropriated; abatement
    (a) General Rules. In the absence of testamentary indication as to the order of abatement, or some other controlling statute, shares of devisees and of...
  • § 28A-15-6   Federal income tax refunds joint returns
    Upon the determination by the United States Treasury Department of an overpayment of income tax by a married couple filing a joint federal income tax...
  • § 28A-15-7   Federal income tax refunds separate returns
    Upon the determination by the United States Treasury Department of an overpayment of income tax by any married person filing a separate return, any refund...
  • § 28A-15-8   State income tax returns
    Upon the determination by the Secretary of Revenue of North Carolina of an overpayment of income tax by any married person, any refund of the...
  • § 28A-15-9   Excess funds
    If the amount of any refund exceeds the sums specified in G.S. 28A‑15‑6, 28A‑15‑7 or 28A‑15‑8, the sums specified therein and one half of any...
  • § 28A-15-9.1   Phase II payments
    A Phase II payment as defined in G.S. 28A‑21‑3.1 shall be the property of the distributees paid in accordance with that section. (2003‑295, s. 1.)
  • § 28A-15-10   Assets of decedent's estate for limited purposes
    (a) When needed to satisfy claims against a decedent's estate, assets may be acquired by a personal representative or collector from the following sources: (1)...
  • § 28A-15-11   Debt due from personal representative not discharged by appointment
    The appointment of any person as personal representative does not discharge any debt or demand due from such person to the decedent. (1868‑9, c. 113,...
  • § 28A-15-12   Examination of persons or corporations believed to have possession of property of decedent
    (a) Whenever a personal representative or collector makes oath or affirmation before the clerk of superior court of the county where the party to be...
  • § 28A-15-13   Opening and inventory of decedent's safe-deposit box
    (a) Definitions. The following definitions apply to this section: (1) Institution. Any entity or person having supervision or possession of a safe‑deposit box to which...

Article 16 - Sales or Leases of Personal Property.

  • § 28A-16-1   Sales or leases without court order
    (a) A personal representative has the power to sell, at either a public or private sale, or to lease, personal property of the decedent without...
  • § 28A-16-2   Sales or leases by court order
    (a) All sales or leases of personal property of the decedent by a collector shall be made only upon order obtained, by motion, from the...
  • § 28A-16-3   Sales of household furnishings
    If the decedent is survived by a spouse, no sale or lease shall be made of the household furnishings in the usual dwelling house occupied...

Article 17 - Sales, Leases or Mortgages of Real Property.

Article 18 - Actions and Proceedings.

Article 19 - Claims against the Estate.

  • § 28A-19-1   Manner of presentation of claims
    (a) A claim against a decedent's estate must be in writing and state the amount or item claimed, or other relief sought, the basis for...
  • § 28A-19-2   Further information or affidavit of claim may be required
    (a) If the personal representative or collector so elects, he may demand any or all of the following prior to taking action on the claim:...
  • § 28A-19-3   Limitations on presentation of claims
    (a) All claims against a decedent's estate which arose before the death of the decedent, except contingent claims based on any warranty made in connection...
  • § 28A-19-4   Payment of claims and charges
    As soon as the personal representative or collector is possessed of sufficient means over and above the other costs of administration, he shall pay the...
  • § 28A-19-5   Contingent claims
    If a contingent or unliquidated claim becomes absolute before the distribution of the estate of the decedent, it shall be paid in the same manner...
  • § 28A-19-6   Order of payment of claims
    (a) After payment of costs and expenses of administration, the claims against the estate of a decedent must be paid in the following order: First...
  • § 28A-19-7   Satisfaction of claims other than by payment
    Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, (1) If a decedent was liable in person at the time of his death for the payment...
  • § 28A-19-8   Funeral expenses of decedent
    (a) Any person authorized under G.S. 130A‑420 to dispose of a decedent's body may bind a decedent's estate for funeral expenses and related charges, including...
  • § 28A-19-9   Gravestone authorized
    It is lawful for personal representatives to provide suitable gravestones to mark the graves of their testators or intestates, and to pay for the cost...
  • § 28A-19-10   Perpetual care of cemetery lot
    It shall be lawful for a personal representative to provide for perpetual care for the lot upon which is located the grave of the testator...
  • § 28A-19-11   Pleading statute of limitations
    When claims are not barred pursuant to G.S. 28A‑19‑3, it shall be within the discretion of the personal representative or collector acting in good faith...
  • § 28A-19-12   Claims due representative not preferred
    No property or assets of the decedent shall be retained by the personal representative or collector in satisfaction of his own claim, in preference to...
  • § 28A-19-13   No preference within class
    No personal representative or collector shall give to any claim any preference whatever, either by paying it out of its class or by paying thereon...
  • § 28A-19-14   Claims not due rebated
    Claims owed by the estate but not yet due may be paid by the personal representative on a rebate of interest thereon for the time...
  • § 28A-19-15   Disputed claim may be referred
    If the personal representative doubts the justness of any claim so presented, he may enter into an agreement, in writing, with the claimant, to refer...
  • § 28A-19-16   Disputed claim not referred barred in three months
    If a claim is presented to and rejected by the personal representative or collector, and not referred as provided in G.S. 28A‑ 19‑15, the claimant...
  • § 28A-19-17   No lien by suit against representative
    No lien shall be created by the commencement of a suit against a personal representative or collector. (1868‑9, c. 113, s. 41; Code, s. 1432;...
  • § 28A-19-18   When costs against representative allowed
    No costs shall be recovered in any action against a personal representative or collector unless it appears that payment was unreasonably delayed or neglected, or...
  • § 28A-19-19   Claims for equitable distribution
    (a) The provisions of G.S. 28A‑19‑5 and G.S. 28A‑19‑7 shall not apply to claims for equitable distribution. (b) The personal representative may enter into an...

Article 20 - Inventory.

  • § 28A-20-1   Inventory within three months
    Every personal representative and collector, within three months after his qualification, shall return to the clerk, on oath, a just, true and perfect inventory of...
  • § 28A-20-2   Compelling the inventory
    (a) If the inventory specified in G.S. 28A‑20‑1 is not filed as prescribed, the clerk of superior court must issue an order requiring the personal...
  • § 28A-20-3   Supplemental inventory
    (a) Whenever any property not included in the original inventory report becomes known to any personal representative or collector or whenever the personal representative or...
  • § 28A-20-4   Employment of appraisers
    A personal representative or collector may, but shall not be required to, employ qualified and disinterested appraisers to assist in ascertaining the fair market value...

Article 21 - Accounting.

  • § 28A-21-1   Annual accounts
    Until the final account has been filed pursuant to G.S. 28A‑21‑2, the personal representative or collector shall, for so long as any of the property...
  • § 28A-21-2   Final accounts
    (a) Unless the time for filing the final account has been extended by the clerk of superior court, the personal representative or collector must file...
  • § 28A-21-3   What accounts must contain
    Accounts filed with the clerk of superior court pursuant to G.S. 28A‑21‑1, signed and under oath, shall contain: (1) The period which the account covers...
  • § 28A-21-3.1   Phase II tobacco grower and quota owner payments; list of Phase II distributees
    (a) The following definitions apply in this section: (1) "National Tobacco Grower Settlement Trust" means the trust established by tobacco companies to provide payments to...
  • § 28A-21-4   Clerk may compel account
    If any personal representative or collector fails to account as directed in G.S. 28A‑9‑3, 28A‑21‑1 or 28A‑21‑2 or renders an unsatisfactory account, the clerk of...
  • § 28A-21-5   Vouchers presumptive evidence
    Vouchers, without other proof, are presumptive evidence of disbursement, unless impeached. If lost, the accounting party must, if required, make oath to that fact setting...

Article 22 - Distribution.

Article 23 - Settlement.

Article 24 - 120-Hour Survivorship Requirement; Revised Simultaneous Death Act.

Article 25 - Small Estates.

Article 26 - Foreign Personal Representatives and Ancillary Administration.

Article 27 - Apportionment of Federal Estate Tax.

  • § 28A-27-1   Definitions
    For the purposes of this Article: (1) "Estate" means the gross estate of a decedent as determined for the purpose of the federal estate tax....
  • § 28A-27-2   Apportionment
      (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this section, or in G.S. 28A‑27‑5, G.S. 28A‑27‑6, or G.S. 28A‑27‑8, the tax shall be...
  • § 28A-27-3   Procedure for determining apportionment
    (a) The personal representative of a decedent shall determine the apportionment of the tax. (b) If the personal representative finds that it is inequitable to...
  • § 28A-27-4   Uncollected tax
    The personal representative shall not be under any duty to institute any suit or proceeding to recover from any person interested in the estate the...
  • § 28A-27-5   Exemptions, deductions, and credits
    (a) Any interest for which a deduction or exemption is allowed under the federal revenue laws in determining the value of the decedent's net taxable...
  • § 28A-27-6   No apportionment between temporary and remainder interests
    No interest in income and no estate for years or for life or other temporary interest in any property or fund is subject to apportionment...
  • § 28A-27-7   Fiduciary's rights and duties
    (a) The personal representative may withhold from any property of the decedent in his possession, distributable to any person interested in the estate, the amount...
  • § 28A-27-8   Difference with Federal Estate Tax Law
    If the liabilities of persons interested in the estate as prescribed by this Article differ from those which result under the Federal Estate Tax Law,...
  • § 28A-27-9   Effective date
    The provisions of this Article shall not apply to taxes due on account of the death of decedents dying prior to October 1, 1986. (1985...

Article 28 - Summary Administration.

  • § 28A-28-1   Summary administration where spouse is sole beneficiary
    When a decedent dies testate or intestate leaving a surviving spouse as the sole devisee or heir, the surviving spouse may file a petition for...
  • § 28A-28-2   Petition
    (a) The petition shall be signed by the surviving spouse and verified to be accurate and complete to the best of the spouse's knowledge and...
  • § 28A-28-3   Clerk's order
    If it appears to the clerk that the petition and supporting evidence, if any, comply with the requirements of G.S. 28A‑28‑2 and on the basis...
  • § 28A-28-4   Effect of order
    (a) The presentation of a certified copy of the order described in G.S. 28A‑28‑3 shall be sufficient to require the transfer to the spouse of...
  • § 28A-28-5   Effect of payment
    The person paying, delivering, transferring, or issuing property or the evidence thereof pursuant to the order described in G.S. 28A‑28‑3 is discharged and released to...
  • § 28A-28-6   Spouse's assumption of liabilities
    If the clerk grants the order for summary administration, the spouse shall be deemed to have assumed, to the extent of the value of the...
  • § 28A-28-7   Right to petition for appointment of personal representative; discharge of spouse's liability
    (a) Nothing in this Article shall preclude any person qualified to serve as personal representative pursuant to G.S. 28A‑4‑1, including the surviving spouse, from petitioning...