Having a will means that the estate will most likely go through the probate process. According to Forbes, a long probate process can leave beneficiaries in limbo. They may be uncertain of their inheritance or when they may receive it.

While retirement accounts, jointly-owned property, life insurance and annuities can avoid probate on their own, there are also options for small estates to undergo a different process.

Do all estates go through probate?

For those who have a will, most assets will have to undergo the probate process. It is a process that many people fear due to the amount of time and money that it can take to process an estate. Fortunately, probate is not always a long or arduous process. States like North Carolina understand that some estates require a more streamlined option that costs less money. Those with small estates often can take advantage of this process.

What is the small estate probate process?

North Carolina recognizes small estate probate processes. A small estate includes assets that are less than 20,000 dollars in gross value. For a decedent to fill out the small estate application, it must be within 30 days of a person’s death. To qualify, a person must:

  • Fill out an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property of Decedent
  • List all beneficiaries’ addresses and names
  • Pay a $120 court fee to begin the process
  • Fill out the Estate Tax Certification form
  • Submit the death certificate
  • Submit an Affidavit of Collection Disbursement and Distribution

For those who are not residents of North Carolina, they must appoint a resident process agent.