What is a Letter Testamentary/Letter of Administration?

If you have been nominated in a person’s Last Will and Testament as the Executor (the person whom collects the assets and distributes them and manages the estate) you will not be able to perform your duties unless you have been appointed by the Court as the Executor.  Your appointment is reflected through the Letter Testamentary.  The term Letter of Administration is the exact sam document, except the appointed person is called an Administrator and the decedent did not have a Last Will and Testament.

The one page document contains the following information:

1.  The State and County the Estate was filed;

2.  The name of the Decedent (person who died);

3.  A statement that the application has been reviewed and the Court “adjudged legally sufficient the qualification of the fiduciary (Executor)”;

4.  The name of the Executor ;

5.  The date of the appointment (the date that the Clerk of Court signed the Letter);

6.  The raised seal of the Court

Once this Letter is issued, it will need to be provided to whatever institution the Executor will need in order to collect the assets.  It also needs to be provided if the the Executor needs to obtain information on an account or other asset.

In North Carolina, the Court provides five (5) Letters Testamentary which is included in the filing fee of $88.00.  If the Executor needs additional ones then they are $1.00 each.  For a list of additional Court fees please see http://tinyurl.com/probatefees.

Keep in mind that unless the Court is satisfied with the initial filing documents, the Letters will not be issued.

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