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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102584
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Im a non-resident of north Carolina with no family in state.

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I'm a non-resident of north Carolina with no family in state. I can't find a lawyer to handle the probate. Can I just walk away from this mess.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your loss and your situation. Can you please tell me if the deceased had any assets/property that you want, or not really?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

not really he had credit card debt and I believe the estate is insolvent. He owed 8000 on car and told the bank to take it

Thank you.

Then one can simply walk away, arguably. Allow me to explain.

When someone passes away, then their estate has to be distributed. The problem is that without probate - with assets such as titled property or bank accounts - this is hard to do. This is because you cannot switch over the assets without an order from the probate court, and simply a Certificate of Death will not do. A Certificate of Death simply states that someone has passed on, but does not give you the right to really do anything in the deceased's name.

So one files probate. Once probate is filed, the Executor of the estate gets something called a Letter of Testament/Administration (hereinafter "Letter"). This Letter will allow the Executor to switch over the assets from the deceased individual to whoever will own the property. It is like a "Power of Attorney," but from the Court. Without that Letter, there is no way to transfer titled property and switch the assets into the beneficiaries' hands. The Executor also distributes non-titled property per the will (if there is one) or default succession laws of the state.

However, being an Executor is voluntary. One is not compelled to be an Executor. So if one has no interest in serving in the position and has nothing that they want from the state, they can simply elect not to file probate. Another family member/friend may do so (any interested party may file probate and/or ask to be Executor).

Nor is one liable for an estate's debt.

So one can simply walk away if one wishes to do so; yes.

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