Raleigh, NC asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina

Q: Father died no Will. Wife & 4 children. Wife says not sharing estate with children. Wife name not on house or cars.

Wife has applied for executor. When do we hire attorney, is it after the 90 days she has been approved executor? What are children entitled to?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Sara W. Harrington
Sara W. Harrington
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Carrboro, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: Your father's widow is allowed to claim a spousal allowance of $30,000 immediately. That is designed to help spouses pay bills until the estate is distributed.

If your father had no will, the estate (after the first $30,000 goes to the widow) will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession. Under that law, the surviving spouse will receive 50% of the estate and the other 50% is shared by the deceased person's living children and heirs of deceased children. The real estate is transferred in the same percentages immediately upon the death of your father.

The widow is the first in line to serve as administrator of the estate. If you have concerns about her ability to fulfill the duties of administering the estate, I recommend you consult with a local probate attorney to go over your concerns in more detail and determine what your next steps should be.

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