28A-28-7. Right to petition for appointment of personal representative; discharge of spouse's liability.

(a) Nothing in this Article shall preclude any person qualified to serve as personal representative pursuant to G.S. 28A-4-1, including the surviving spouse, from petitioning the clerk of superior court for the appointment of a personal representative or collector to administer the decedent's estate. If a personal representative or collector is appointed, the spouse shall render a proper accounting to the personal representative or collector and file a copy of the accounting with the clerk. The spouse shall deliver assets of the decedent's estate, cash, or other property and shall be discharged of liability in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section.

(b) In the event that a personal representative or collector is appointed, the spouse shall be discharged of liability for the debts of the decedent as follows:

(1) If the spouse delivers to the personal representative or collector all of the property received by the spouse in the identical form that it was received by the spouse, then the spouse will be discharged of all liability.

(2) If the spouse does not deliver to the personal representative or collector all of the property in the identical form that it was received by the spouse, then the spouse shall be discharged of liability as follows:

a. For property delivered to the personal representative or collector that is in the identical form that it was received by the spouse, the spouse is discharged to the extent of the fair market value of the property at the time of the decedent's death or the fair market value at the time the property was received by the personal representative or collector, whichever is greater.

b. For property delivered to the personal representative or collector that is not in the identical form that it was received by the spouse, the spouse is discharged to the extent of the fair market value of such property at the time it was delivered to the personal representative or collector. (1995, c. 294, s. 1.)