Legally reviewed by:
King Law
January 4, 2024

In North Carolina, the process of administering an estate is typically handled by an individual appointed as the executor or administrator. An executor is someone listed in a will as the person in charge of the estate. If the will does not list an executor, or if someone dies without a will, an administrator (also known as a personal representative) must be appointed by the court. The qualifications for being appointed as the administrator of an estate may vary depending on the specific circumstances and the type of estate being administered. However, in North Carolina, every estate administrator must meet the following criteria:

  1. Age: The person must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Legal Capacity: The individual must have legal capacity, meaning they are mentally competent and not under any legal disability.
  3.  Prior Convictions: The individual must not be a convicted felon, or, if they are a convicted felon, have had their citizenship rights restored.
  4.  Literacy: The individual must be able to read.
  5.  Residency: The individual must be a legal resident of North Carolina or be appointed a resident of North Carolina to accept summons and the service of other legal papers.
  6.  Previous Resignation: The individual must not have already resigned or withdrawn from administering the estate.

The following important points to note about applying for and carrying out the duties of administering an estate:

Relationship to the Deceased: In North Carolina, there is no requirement that the executor or administrator must be related to the deceased person. However, being a family member or close friend may be a factor considered by the court when appointing an executor or administrator.

The Clerk of the Superior Court may also disqualify anyone from administering an estate whom they find unsuitable for the position.

Non-North Carolina residents are required to post a bond before being appointed administrator of an estate. Even if the administrator is a North Carolina resident, posting a bond is required unless all the heirs are 18 years of age or older and they file waivers of the bond requirement with the court.

If the person who has passed did not leave any kind of direction for their burial or cremation, their spouse, followed by their parents and other blood relatives, have the first right to make funeral arrangements. If those people do not exercise that right, anyone who had a close relationship with the person, or anyone willing to assume responsibility for the funeral arrangements may make those arrangements. The right to dispose of a deceased person’s body under such circumstances must be exercised within 5 days of notification of their death, or 10 days of the actual date of their death, whichever is earlier. If the right is not exercised within that timeframe, the right is waived.

Funeral expenses may be paid before an administrator is appointed by the court. Those expenses must be paid out-of-pocket rather than with estate money. The estate must then repay those expenses once an administrator has been appointed, the estate has been opened, and the window for submitting creditors’ claims has been opened.

It’s important to note that these guidelines are general, and specific situations may have additional requirements or considerations. If you are interested in administering an estate in North Carolina, it is recommended to consult with an attorney who specializes in estate administration to understand the specific requirements and procedures that apply to your situation.

At King Law Offices, we have a team of attorneys and case managers who are well-versed when it comes to the probate process. Whether you have recently lost a loved one and need help navigating the estate administration process or you are interested in proactive measures that can be taken to avoid the probate process entirely when you pass, we stand by ready to assist you. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys in western North Carolina or upstate South Carolina, please reach out to us at (888)-748-KING (5464) or online at

Legally reviewed by:
King Law
Carolina Attorneys
January 4, 2024

This blog post has been reviewed and verified by legal experts at King Law. Our team is dedicated to providing premium legal services with compassion, innovation, trust, and advocacy. Serving Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, we offer flexible meeting options and strive to exceed client expectations with high-quality legal representation and exceptional client relationships.

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