At Erin Patterson Law, PLLC, you are not just hiring an attorney but rather a compassionate team with extensive experience working with Executors, Personal Representatives, and Trustees to administer estates and trusts in the greater Charlotte area as well as surrounding counties in North Carolina and South Carolina.
We understand that being appointed as Executor and/or Trustee of a loved one's Will or Trust may seem overwhelming and a bit stressful. You will have to face Court requirements, tax obligations, beneficiary communications, and proper asset handling and ultimately distribution. Our goal is to walk alongside you and be a comfort to you as you process your grief while also alleviating these legal burdens. Additionally, we have the flexibility to provide a range of service levels to Executors and Trustees, from an occasional consult to a complete handling of all estate and trust matters.
Estate and trust administration can be lengthy and often complex; therefore, efficiency and clarity are our top objectives. That's why our process includes breaking down large tasks into manageable pieces and providing clear communication on current and next steps. From the first meeting, we will explain timeline and action items in a way that is easy to understand, tracking tasks along the way so you always know where you are headed in the process.
- Review of the Will to determine the distribution scheme
- Advise the Executor/Personal Representative of their duties and responsibilities during the administration process
- Detailed review and organization of decedent's assets and liabilities
- Recommendations regarding the proper probate court procedure to administer the decedent's estate
- Preparation and filing of court documents and notices
- Communication with creditors of decedent's estate
- Coordination with advisors such as financial advisors, life insurance agents, and accountant to ensure assets are handled appropriately and proper tax filings are completed
- Advise on the management and plan of distribution of assets to the beneficiaries
- Provide customized to do lists, checklists, and reference sheets at every meeting
Our Advanced Services include all of the services listed under Essential Services, but may also include the following:
- Review of the Trust to provide a summary of and guidance on the Trust terms and distribution scheme
- Advise the Trustee of their duties and responsibilities during the trust administration process
- Detailed review and organization of Trust assets and expenses
- Preparation of Trust distribution documents and correspondences to Trust beneficiaries
- Provide customized Trust flow diagrams and Trust distribution tracker
Frequently Asked Questions
What is probate?
Probate is a court supervised process in which a Will is recorded, an Executor or Personal Representative is appointed, and the decedent's wishes are carried out.
What if a person dies without a Will?
The decedent's estate will be administered pursuant to North Carolina or South Carolina law. Without a Will, the probate process may be more complex sometimes adding additional steps including but not limited to, appointing a Personal Representative, obtaining a bond, and distributing property to those individuals who may not have received property if a Will was in place.
Note: Regardless of wealth or the complexity of an estate, we always recommend having a Will in place to avoid additional court required steps or having assets pass to individuals you may not have wanted to receive a share of your estate. If you need an estate plan or have questions regarding an estate plan that you currently have in place, please inquire about our estate planning practice areaor contact our office to schedule a time to speak with a member of our team.
What are Letters of Testamentary/Administration?
This terminology can be confusing to some clients, since the documents are not technically "letters". Instead, Letters of Testamentary and Letters of Administration are documents issued by the Clerk of Superior Court following their review and approval of the application and Will (if applicable). The Letters show the individual(s) authorized to act on behalf of the estate to collect assets and administer the estate.
How long does probate take?
Typical estates require one year to administer and settle. Estates with business interests or real estate often take longer than one year. However, each estate is different and the length of time that it takes to administer an estate is dependent upon a lot of variables such as asset types, creditor claims, and tax
Has a loved one recently died, and you now need guidance regarding your next steps? Or have you been appointed as Executor and/or Trustee and have questions or need a team to help you through the process? Contact our office to schedule a meeting with a member of our team.
Please note that at this time, our firm does not litigate any estate matters such as Will and Trust contests, or fiduciary and beneficiary disputes. Our firm is happy to provide referrals to litigators where needed.