When You Need to Hire a Probate Lawyer
Navigating the time after losing a loved one can be confusing and stressful, in addition to the sadness you feel.
You may not even know what the word probate means, yet you are now expected to make important decisions on the subject.
Put simply, probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s assets, held in his or her individual name (not jointly), are distributed.
You may not need to hire a probate lawyer if the situation does not warrant one, or you may find that having one makes the process much easier.
Here’s what you need to understand when deciding if you need to hire a probate lawyer.
What does a probate lawyer do?
A probate lawyer helps to advise the executor of an estate, or the person who is in charge of carrying out a deceased person’s will.
Probate lawyers walk executors through the probate process, coaching them on legal proceedings and offering professional advice where needed.
They assist in tying up all loose ends and completing any necessary tasks that must be taken care of after an individual’s death.
Sometimes this can be done on your own, but sometimes there is too much headache involved and you’ll want to seek the help of a professional.
Why should I hire a probate lawyer?
You are never required by law to hire a probate lawyer.
However, if the estate is large and the situation is complicated, it’s probably a good idea to do so.
Sometimes probate is not even necessary, but if it is, the process is different in each state. Some states have processes that are relatively simple, while others are more complex.
If there is any controversy over whether the deceased person’s will is legitimate, this is where a probate lawyer can be especially helpful.
Disputes over whether or not the will is valid can be handled more easily with professional advice.
After determining that a will is valid, the next step is carrying out whatever it says.
How a probate lawyer can help
A designated representative, or executor, will have to take inventory of an estate’s debts and assets, and settle any owed sums while also making sure the assets are distributed correctly.
In addition, the representative will notify any relevant parties who may be affected by the will.
Because these processes can involve a good deal of paperwork and confusing legal transactions, hiring a probate lawyer can be the easier and more convenient option for you.
If there are debts to pay attached to the estate, the process from there will depend on whether there is enough money left over to pay bills and beneficiaries.
A probate lawyer can help you navigate this situation.
Things also get more complicated if there is a business, commercial real estate, or unusual assets contained in the estate. These require special handling.
Lastly, some estates will be forced to pay a large estate tax in a state where the deceased person lived or owned real estate. Filing an estate tax return can be extremely difficult, so seeking legal advice, in this case, is a wise thing to do.
If you’re looking for a probate lawyer, get in touch with us and let us help you resolve any estate issues you may have.