TN 14 (10-14)

GN 02315.071 North Carolina — Small Estates

A. Policy - administration by clerk of Superior Court

Under the provisions of North Carolina Statutes, Section 28A-25-6, any person indebted to a decedent may pay the amount due to the Clerk of the Superior Court of the county of domicile of the decedent if:

  • no administrator has been appointed,

  • the amount due to the decedent by SSA is $5,000 or less; and

  • the sum would not make the aggregate sum which has come into the Clerk’s hands belonging to the decedent exceed $5,000.

If the aggregate of receipts to the Clerk exceeds $5,000, then the estate is not eligible for administration by the Clerk. If a sum tendered pursuant to this article would make the aggregate sum coming into the Clerk’s hands with respect to any one decedent exceed $5,000, the Clerk shall appoint an administrator, or the sum may be administered under the alternative procedures noted below. A “full release” to the debtor is granted upon issuance of a receipt by the Clerk of Superior Court for a payment purporting to be made pursuant to the General Statutes of North Carolina section 28A-25-6.

B. Policy — payment to persons presenting court certified affidavits

1. Decedent dies without a will

Under the provisions of the General Statutes of North Carolina, Section 28A-25-1, when a decedent dies without a will leaving personal property, less liens and encumbrances thereon, not exceeding $20,000 in value, at any time after 30 days from the date of death, any person indebted to the decedent shall make payment of the indebtedness to a person who: 1) claims to be the court-appointed public administrator, or an heir or creditor of the decedent, 2) is not disqualified (see POMS GN 02315.071.B.3 in this section regarding disqualification), and 3) presents a certified copy of an affidavit filed in the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of the county where the decedent had his or her domicile at the time of death. The affidavit must be made by or on behalf of the heir or creditor or the court-appointed public administrator stating:

  • The name and address of the affiant and the fact that the affiant is the court-appointed public administrator or an heir or creditor of the decedent;

  • The name of the decedent and residence at time of death;

  • The date and place of death of the decedent;

  • That 30 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent.

  • That the value of all personal property owned by the estate of the decedent, less liens and encumbrances thereon, does not exceed $20,000;

  • That no application or petition for appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction;

  • The names and addresses of those persons who are entitled, under the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act, to the personal property of the decedent and their relationship to decedent, if any; and

  • A description sufficient to identify each tract of real property owned by the decedent at the time of the decedent’s death.

2. Decedent dies with a will

When a decedent dies with a will leaving personal property, less liens and encumbrances thereon, not exceeding $10,000 (for persons dying on or before September 30, 2009) or $20,000 (for persons dying on or after October 1, 2009), at any time after 30 days from the date of death, any person indebted to the decedent must pay the indebtedness to a person who:

  • claims to be the court-appointed public administrator or a person named or designated as executor in the will, devisee, heir or creditor, of the decedent;

  • is not disqualified, see POMS GN 02315.071.B.3 in this section regarding disqualification, and

  • presents a certified copy of an affidavit filed in the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of the county of the decedent’s domicile at the time of death.

The affidavit must be made by or on behalf of the heir, the person named or designated as executor in the will, the creditor, the appointed public administrator, or the devisee, stating:

  • The name and address of the affiant and the fact that he is the public administrator, a person named or designated as executor in the will, devisee, heir or creditor, of the decedent;

  • The decedent’s name and residence at the time of death;

  • The date and place of the decedent’s death;

  • That 30 days have passed since the decedent died;

  • That the decedent died with a will leaving personal property, less liens and encumbrances thereon, not exceeding $10,000 (for persons dying on or before September 30, 2009) or $20,000 (for persons dying on or after October 1, 2009);

  • That the decedent’s will has been admitted to the proper probate court and a certified copy of the will has been recorded in each county where the decedent owned land when he or she died;

  • That a certified copy of the decedent’s will is attached to the affidavit;

  • That no application or petition for appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction;

  • The names and addresses of those persons who are entitled to the decedent’s property under the will’s provisions, or if applicable, under the Intestate Succession Act; and their relationship, if any, to the decedent; and

  • A description sufficient to identify each tract of land the decedent owned when he or she died.

3. Who may be disqualified?

No person is qualified to serve as a personal representative who:

  • Is under 18 years of age;

  • Has been determined by a court to be incompetent and remains incompetent;

  • Is a convicted felon, under the laws either of the United States or of any state or territory of the United States, or of the District of Columbia and whose citizenship has not been restored;

  • Is a nonresident of this State who has not appointed a resident agent to accept service of process in all actions or proceedings with respect to the estate, and caused such appointment to be filed with the court; or who is a resident of this State who has, subsequent to appointment as a personal representative, moved from this State without appointing such process agent;

  • Is a corporation not authorized to act as a personal representative in this State;

  • Is deemed a “slayer” (see note below) and has lost that person’s right to inherit any property of a murdered decedent;

  • Note: a slayer means any person who has been convicted of murdering the decedent; convicted as an accessory to the decedent’s murder; entered a guilty plea as a principal of, or accessory to, the decedent’s murder; found by a civil court to have murdered the decedent; found by a civil court to have procured the killing of the decedent; or adjudged as a juvenile delinquent to have been the principal or accessory of the decedent’s murder.

  • Is illiterate;

  • Is a person whom the clerk of superior court finds otherwise unsuitable; or

  • Is a person who has renounced the office of executor or administrator either expressly or by implication?

    NOTE: The clerk of the superior court will have evidence of the renunciation, which will be a signed document by the executor or administrator renouncing the office, or a court order indicating that the executor or administrator impliedly renounced the office.

    Consequently, before making payment to an individual presenting an affidavit, determine whether the individual is disqualified under this section.

4. Affidavit alone is enough to transfer property

The presentation of the above-mentioned affidavits will be sufficient to require the transfer to the affiant or his or her designee the amount of the underpayment owed by SSA to the decedent at the time of his or her death.

5. Release of liability

A person paying indebtedness pursuant to such an affidavit is discharged and released to the same extent as if he or she dealt with a duly qualified personal representative of the decedent. SSA is not required to see to the proper disposition of the underpayment once the affiant takes possession of it or to inquire into the truth of any statement in the affidavit. If any person to whom an affidavit was delivered refuses to pay, the affiant may bring a Court action on behalf of the persons entitled thereto.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202315071
GN 02315.071 - North Carolina -- Small Estates - 10/09/2014
Batch run: 10/09/2014
Rev:10/09/2014