If you are considering creating a last will and testament dictating how you would like to handle your assets, you may be in the process of looking for an estate planning attorney. With multiple sources of information available online, there are many ways to find legal advice—but how do you know who to trust? You may be wondering whether or not to hire a probate attorney since it is possible to create a will inexpensively using online services. With that in mind, here is a brief outline of the specialized services estate planning lawyers provide.
About Probate Lawyers
A probate lawyer is a state-licensed attorney who handles estate planning services for clients after years of study and mentoring. These specialized attorneys attain expert knowledge of probate law in their states, since regulations can vary across state lines. They provide advice for how to efficiently handle an estate’s assets and avoid a lengthy probate process, which can delay the distribution of assets for months at a time. Probate lawyers are well versed in the creation of trusts, handling issues of legal guardianship, and advising executors in charge of ensuring that the will is carried out.
The Probate Process
A probate attorney will take the deceased person’s personal representative through all the steps of the probate process. This entails going through the state’s probate court to see that all assets are accounted for and distributed according the will, as well as acknowledging and paying any outstanding debts. How long this will take depends on the size and complexity of the estate. Some states have adopted what is called the Uniform Probate Code, allowing estates to be settled with minimal court supervision. Determining whether your state falls under the UPC and how complicated the estate is will help to indicate whether you need to seek out an estate planning lawyer.
Services a Probate Lawyer Provides
Estate planning attorneys can help with the following legal issues: preparing and filing necessary documents with a probate court, conducting appraisals, advising executors and beneficiaries, keeping track of assets, paying taxes and other debts, collecting life insurance benefits, settling disputes among beneficiaries, the creation of wills and living trusts, selling estate property, retitling real estate and other assets not sold, and providing financial advice.
Since many of these responsibilities fall to the executor of the estate, a knowledgeable probate attorney can simplify the process, particularly in the case of a large estate with many beneficiaries and creditors. In most cases, an estate planning attorney can remove the guesswork from the probate process and ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible for all involved. In many cases, they can help you avoid probate court altogether.
Most people will have to handle estate planning duties during their lifetimes, but that doesn’t mean you have to take on this responsibility alone. To learn more about what is involved with probate and set up an expert consultation, contact the law offices of Queens probate lawyer Richard Cary Spivack today.