Unfortunately, grief can sometimes bring out the worst in people; bereavement brings out feelings of loss, anger, abandonment, and occasionally, a whole slew of unresolved issues. At such difficult and emotional times, loved ones do not need the additional hassle of having to resolve probate issues, which is why you should hire a probate lawyer. Of course, a probate lawyer cannot fix everything but s/he can certainly ensure that all legal practicalities are taken care, which is one less thing for your family to worry about.
Fortunately, family feuds after the demise of a loved one are not the norm but that doesn’t mean you should not hire a probate lawyer to help you make provision for your estate and your family’s welfare after you’re gone.
Naturally, some estates will be easier to plan than others, and there’s not always a need to hire a probate lawyer: to help you decide whether you need the services of a probate attorney, we’ve put together a few pointers.
If you’ve had the foresight to make a revocable living trust, have already given away some of your estate in the form of gifts, made your bank account(s) payable on death, and have joint ownership of property, then probate may be avoided. However, it’s never wise to assume this, so it’s always a good idea to speak to a probate lawyer to find out where you and your loved ones stand.
Small estate procedure
In some cases, an estate may qualify for a simplified process, whereby a sworn affidavit is submitted out of court. To find out whether this applies, again, it’s best to consult a probate lawyer, who will be able to advise.
Is your will likely to be contested?
If so, then you should seek the advice of a probate lawyer, so that when the time comes, s/he can help the proceedings go as smoothly as possible, and help to keep the drain on your estate’s assets to a minimum. A probate attorney may even help to avoid a court battle altogether.
How is the estate made up?
If your estate consists of personal possessions and real estate, things should be plain-sailing; however, if there are business concerns and property, things could become complicated, in which case, it’s absolutely essential to hire the services of an expert probate lawyer.
Federal and local estate tax
While most estates do not qualify for federal estate tax, many states impose their own. Don’t just assume that your estate will be exempt – speak to a probate lawyer.
The above are just the tip of the legal iceberg that is probate law, so as ever, if you are in any doubt, or just require some expert advice, then don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a probate lawyer, most of whom offer free first-time appointments.
For estate planning, probate disputes, Trusts & Living Wills in Forest Hills and throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties, call Richard Cary Spivack on 718.544.1000 or contact me online to schedule a free initial consultation.