Administering an estate, especially one with more than just your basic assets, such as a home, and a couple joint bank accounts, can be very complicated. On a basic level, an executor must produce an inventory of all assets to the court, publish a notice to the creditors, pay taxes and funeral expenses, and make sure that all beneficiaries get exactly what they are due pursuant to the will. Many times, an executor will not have extensive knowledge of the tax laws or estate laws of North Carolina, and that makes them subject to mistakes.

In North Carolina, an executor can be held personally liable for the errors they may make in administering an estate for a loved one. If they pay taxes improperly, for example, or distribute assets improperly to beneficiaries, they may be subject to fines or even being held in contempt of court. If you are unsure of the laws of this state or uncomfortable with the basic steps of the probate process, you may want to consider hiring an attorney.

If you are administering the estate of someone who is a resident of North Carolina, but had assets in other states, you would have to file a probate estate in those other states, and you would want to hire an attorney in those respective states. Most states, including North Carolina, require an out of state executor to appoint a resident agent of the state to accept service on their behalf.

If you accept the position of Executor, but then realize you are in over your head, you can either hire an attorney to help you, or ask the court to relieve you of your fiduciary duties as executor. There is a process to do this, and that is also something you may want to consult an attorney for.