July 17, 2024

Probate and Estate Administration Lawyer, Cheryl R. Watkins

Cheryl Watkins is an attorney based out of Charlotte, North Carolina running a boutique law practice which specializes in probate law and estate administration. Contact her for a consultation!

The First Steps to Take When Someone Dies

The emotional trauma brought on by the death of a close family member is often accompanied by bewilderment about the financial and legal steps the survivors must take. These steps may inconveniently come on top of commitments to family and work that can’t be set aside.

Probate, also known as estate administration, is the process that occurs after a person dies and prior to his or her assets being distributed. In North Carolina, estate administration is governed by the North Carolina General Statutes as well as the rules of the Clerk of Superior Court in the county of the decedent’s residence. Administrators are responsible for being aware of these laws and rules and are charged with following them. Getting support from an attorney with estate administration experience allows the process to be implemented smoothly and efficiently.

This listing includes the first few steps a surviving family member may want to take. These responsibilities may ultimately fall on whoever is appointed executor or administrator. Note that matters can be a bit complicated in the absence of a will, because it may not be clear who legally has the responsibility of carrying out these steps. [Read more…]

Bill of Rights For Those Who Grieve

Grief can be overwhelming, agonizing, numbing. But no matter how terrible, the bereaved have to go through it. Those who try to bottle up and avoid their feelings only prolong the experience. Grief is part of the process we must go through to get to the other side — to fully recover from our bereavement. What should we expect during this time?

1. You have the right to experience your own unique grief. No one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. So, when you turn to others for help, don’t allow them to tell you what you should or should not be feeling.

2. You have the right to talk about your grief. Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want about your grief.
[Read more…]

What Is Probate Law: A Procedure That Doesn’t Have to be a Problem

Once someone close to us has died, in addition to the monumental process of managing the shock and grieving our loss, we soon have to turn to the business of handling this person’s final matters. This would include non-judicial tasks such as handling the funeral arrangements. But it also includes the legal procedure called probate also known in North Carolina as Estate Administration. The probate process begins immediately after death.


The word probate has Latin roots and means “to prove” and, appropriately, one of the tasks which must be performed as a part of the probate process is “proving the will.” However,
“probate” as a legal process is much more involved than merely “proving a will.”  For instance, probate takes place whether a person died with a will and/or a trust (they died “testate”) or without a will (they died “intestate”).  To succinctly sum up the practical meaning of probate, one could say that probate is the process of gathering information about a deceased person’s assets and creditors and handling them in strict accordance with the laws of North Carolina and US all while following the governance of the deceased person’s will/trust as supervised by the Clerk of Superior Court.  [Read more…]