Losing a loved one is tough, and dealing with the probate process during such a time can be stressful. However, a probate lawyer can help simplify the process for you. But what exactly is a probate lawyer, and when do you need one?
A qualified probate attorney can speed up the process and make the process easier and more efficient. Find the right lawyer for your case with these tips!
What is a probate lawyer?
A probate lawyer is an attorney who specializes in settling the affairs of the estates of deceased people. Basically, they do everything related to the probate process, such as validating the dead person’s will, valuing the deceased’s possessions, examining unpaid debts and taxes, and handing over the remaining assets to people who are legally eligible for them.
What does a probate lawyer do?
The executor or administrator may need a probate lawyer for several reasons. Take a quick look at some of the roles they can play for you:
- They work as the estate’s executors.
- As appointed executors, they carry out last wills and testaments with trusted family members.
- Assist with probate litigation if someone challenges a will.
- Probate lawyers help families navigate state inheritance laws if someone dies intestate (without a will).
- They advise on legal matters.
- Help you collect life insurance money.
- Managing the deceased’s finances.
- Prepare court documents and file them accordingly.
- Prepare estate tax returns for the deceased.
When do you need a probate lawyer?
There are times when you don’t need a probate lawyer. You might need a probate lawyer if any of these factors apply:
Estate complexity: A probate lawyer may not be needed in simple estates. However, a probate lawyer may be necessary for more complex estates with multiple beneficiaries, creditors, and disputes.
Conflict among family members: A probate lawyer can help mediate and resolve disputes between family members regarding asset distribution.
Disagreement with the will: A probate lawyer can help resolve legal issues regarding a will or the executor’s estate administration.
Tax issues: The probate lawyer can create tax-saving strategies if the estate has significant tax liabilities.
Real estate property: A probate lawyer can help ensure all necessary paperwork is filed and real estate property is legally transferred to beneficiaries.
How to choose the right probate lawyer?
Check their level of experience: Hire a probate lawyer who has handled probate cases for years. A probate lawyer with experience will handle your case effectively.
Check if they’re a good communicator: Make sure you hire a probate lawyer who explains everything you need to know about the process. A smooth probate process depends on communication.
Check if they understand your needs: Every probate case is different. Make sure their special skills can handle your unique situation. Also, if your case crosses more than one state, is the lawyer licensed to practice there?
Check their background: Verify that any probate attorney is in good standing with the respective licensing agency before hiring. When hiring a probate lawyer online, read their reviews and how their clients rate them online.
The bottom line
The process of probate can be time-consuming and difficult. You should hire a probate lawyer if you’re the executor of an estate. An experienced probate attorney can assist you, ensure everything is done properly, and save you money.