Probate In North Carolina: What if there is no will?

Hey Guys! 

     As a company that buys houses in Wake County, one of the most common questions I get from my sellers involved with the probate process in North Carolina is "What if there is no will?  In this post, we will explain the process in a very simple manner, that being said, this is no legal advice and we are not attorneys. Please, get assistance from your trusted probate attorney.


     According to the “intestate succession” laws, the assets of a deceased without a will in the the state of North Carolina will be passed to the closest relatives. 

     You may be wondering, how does intestate succession work in North Carolina, especially in wake county?

     Well, according to the Intestate Succession laws, only the assets that were not attached to will are subject to these laws. Most of the time, that includes the assets that the deceased owned alone, in it's own name.

     There are many assets that do not go through a will, and are not subjected to intestate succession laws, like: Properties transferred to a living trust, life insurance proceeds, retirement account funds, securities in a transfer-on-death account, payable-on-death accounts, or properties owned with someone else in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety. These assets will be passed on to the surviving party or a beneficiary, regardless or not there is a will in place.


     According to intestate succession laws in North Carolina, whether or not there are living, parents, children or other close relatives at the time of death makes a difference. 

For example:

  • Children but no spouse, children inherit all. 
  • Spouse with no descendants or parents, spouse inherits all.
  • parents with no spouse or descendants, parents inherit it all.
  • Siblings with no spouse, descendants, or parents, siblings inherit all.

     Other questions related to the probate process are:

In what case does the state get the Property in North Carolina?

     When someone dies without a will in North Carolina and they don’t have any family members, the property will “escheat” in to the state. That being said, that is very rare, and it does not happen often because laws specifically designed to get the property to anyone who was even remotely related to the deceased. The property will not go to the state if there are spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, neices, nephews, or cousins alive!

Did you just get a piece of real estate passed on to your through the probate process? Don't know what to do with a property you inherited? Do you need to sell a house in Raleigh that you inherited? That's where we come in! Contact NC HomeBuyers to solve any of your real estate problems. Get a cash offer today!