(a) As an alternative to the small estate settlement procedures of this Article, any person indebted to a decedent may satisfy such indebtedness by paying the amount of the debt to the clerk of the superior court of the county of the domicile of the decedent:
(1) If no administrator has been appointed, and
(2) If the amount owed by such person does not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), and
(3) If the sum tendered to the clerk would not make the aggregate sum which has come into the clerk's hands belonging to the decedent exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(b) Such payments may not be made to the clerk if the total amount paid or tendered with respect to any one decedent would exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), even though disbursements have been made so that the aggregate amount in the clerk's hands at any one time would not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(c) If the sum tendered pursuant to this section would make the aggregate sum coming into the clerk's hands with respect to any one decedent exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) the clerk shall appoint an administrator, or the sum may be administered under the preceding sections of this Article.
(d) If it appears to the clerk after making a preliminary survey that disbursements pursuant to this section would not exhaust funds received pursuant to this section, the clerk may, in the clerk's discretion, appoint an administrator, or the funds may be administered under the preceding sections of this Article.
(e) The receipt from the clerk of the superior court of a payment purporting to be made pursuant to this section is a full release to the debtor for the payment so made.
(f) If no administrator has been appointed, the clerk of superior court shall disburse the money received under this section for the following purposes and in the following order:
(1) To pay the surviving spouse's year's allowance and children's year's allowance assigned in accordance with law;
(2), (3) Repealed by Session Laws 1981, c. 383, s. 3.
(4) All other claims shall be disbursed according to the order set out in G.S. 28A-19-6.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection, the clerk shall pay, out of funds provided the deceased pursuant to G.S. 111-18 and Part 3 of Article 2 of Chapter 108A of the General Statutes of North Carolina, any lawful claims for care provided by an adult care home to the deceased, incurred not more than 90 days prior to the deceased's death. After the death of a spouse who died intestate and after the disbursements have been made in accordance with this subsection, the balance in the clerk's hands belonging to the estate of the decedent shall be paid to the surviving spouse, and if there is no surviving spouse, the clerk shall pay it to the heirs in proportion to their respective interests.
(g) The clerk shall not be required to publish notice to creditors.
(h) Whenever an administrator is appointed after a clerk of superior court has received any money pursuant to this section, the clerk shall pay to the administrator all funds which have not been disbursed. The clerk shall receive no commissions for payments made to the administrator, and the administrator shall receive no commissions for receiving such payments. (1921, c. 93; Ex. Sess. 1921, c. 65; C.S., s. 65(a); Ex. Sess. 1924, cc. 15, 58; 1927, c. 7; 1929, cc. 63, 71, 121; 1931, c. 21; 1933, cc. 16, 94; 1935, cc. 69, 96, 367; 1937, cc. 13, 31, 55, 121, 336, 377; 1939, cc. 383, 384; 1941, c. 176; 1943, cc. 24, 114, 138, 560; 1945, cc. 152, 178, 555; 1947, cc. 203, 237; 1949, cc. 17, 81, 691, 762; 1951, c. 380, s. 1; 1955, c. 1246, s. 103; 1957, c. 491; 1959, c. 795, ss. 1-4; 1965, c. 576, s. 1; 1973, c. 23; c. 1329, s. 1; 1975, c. 344; 1979, c. 163; c. 762, s. 1; 1981, c. 383, s. 3; 1983, c. 65, s. 2; 1987, c. 282, s. 6; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1015, s. 1; 1995, c. 535, s. 2; 2011-344, s. 4.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014