Do I need a lawyer for letters of testamentary? Can I do it myself?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I need a lawyer for letters of testamentary? Can I do it myself?

I can’t find my sister’s original will I have a copy.
She died in North Carolina. No need to probate the will.

Asked on April 3, 2018 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Assuming that you meet the statutory requirements to qualify as personal representative of the estate, you can seek to be qualified without having a lawyer, although retiaining an attoreny is highly advisable. Call the local Clerk of Court, Estates Division, in the county in which you intend to seek qualification; they will explain the process to you. Most Clerk of Court offices have someone in the estates department who will meet with you for an intake appointment. In simple estates, they may actually give you the forms that you’ll need or you may access those at Note, the clerks cannot give legal advise, but are helpful. Once all documents, etc. are ready, the Clerk will swear you in and issue your Letters. Again, while you can attempt to do all of this yourself, doing it without an experienced probate attorney isn’t advisable.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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