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Wills and Probate

Executor's fees, referred to as a commission, are fees paid to the executor of an estate for administering the estate. Some states set executor fees by statute based on the value of the estate. Other states provide a range based on several different factors. In North Carolina unless a will provides otherwise executor's commissions can be no more than five percent (5%) of the commissionable receipts and expenses of the estate. The fees are awarded by the clerk of superior court and are typically paid upon approval of the final account. Although the statute permits a clerk to award up to five percent (5%), in practice most clerks award approximately two percent (2%). An executor should never pay a commission to himself or herself without the court's approval.No. Making handwritten changes on a will most likely would invalidate the entire will. The cost of litigating this issue far exceeds the cost of doing it right. There is no "default" distribution method in probate. If the decedent had a valid will, the distribution provisions of the will control the manner and timing of distributions. If the decedent died without a valid will, the laws of intestate succession will determine how and when assets are distributed.Executor's fees are normally paid at the conclusion of the administration of the estate once the final account had been tentatively approved by the clerk of superior court. For estate administrations that last several years, it may be possible to obtain an interim payment of commissions, provided the court approves it and provided the estate has sufficient assets.If the decedent had any property not disposed of by beneficiary designation, the estate will usually need to be probated to distribute the property.

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