Any legal proceeding can be extensive, lengthy, and full of complex legal terminology. That’s why during the probate process, which is when the court decides how a deceased person’s estate gets set settled, many prefer to employ the services of an attorney for probate.
An experienced attorney for probate can handle the probate process and tackle any issues that may arise during the proceeding.
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What Does an Attorney for Probate Do?
An attorney for probate’s primary responsibility is to provide legal guidance throughout the entire probate process – which can get complex and overwhelming for an estate beneficiary. Depending on the state or jurisdiction, there are fundamental factors involved that direct how a probate attorney will handle the case.
Typically, a valid will outlines how the deceased person wanted his or her estate administered. If there’s no will left, the process can get more complicated.
During the probate process, all pertinent documents are collected, after which a plan for asset distribution is carried out.
An attorney for probate can also assist clients with tax filings, paying off debts asset inventory, overseeing funeral costs, locating relatives, guardianship matters, and wrongful death matters.
When there are probate disputes, usually initiated by another party, you must have an attorney for probate guiding you on what steps to take.
Each of these cases has a specific period in which they must be dealt with.
If you’re wondering what situations or reasons would require an attorney for probate, we’ve listed some of them for you in today’s post.
Contracts, Disclaimers, Deeds, and Other Legal Documents
In many cases, legal documents such as contracts, disclaimers, or deeds must be prepared and collected during probate. Doing so grants the last wishes of the deceased to help their surviving family members manage the assets.
For example, when two siblings receive an inheritance of their family-owned business, but one of the siblings decide they want to sell the share to the other sibling. An attorney can draft an agreement between the siblings.
Aside from the sales agreement, the attorney can also draft any other contracts to ensure that the business continues to prosper and be adequately managed.
Whenever there is a family-owned company or business involved, the management of assets gets complex.
This is when you would benefit from employing the services of a legal professional. He or she can ensure that the correct legal documentation is in place – whether it’s for transferring or ending ownership.
Sadly, disputes, issues, and conflicts arise among heirs and surviving family members during the probate process. It’s not uncommon to see estate management and proceedings create unfortunate disagreements, tension, and bad feelings within the family. An experienced probate lawyer can help alleviate these tensions and maintain harmony among family members.
For instance, if an individual suspect the validity of the will – for whatever reason – a lawyer must be brought in to oversee the estate.
In other cases, the deceased person may have been remarried and had children with the new spouse. The children from the first marriage may feel that the division of the estate was not done fairly.
The parties involved in situations like this may need to hire their own probate and estate planning attorneys to represent them and settle any arguments.
Probate issues often involve tension and emotions. This reason is enough to hire a lawyer. If one surviving family member or beneficiary starts to get accusatory or confrontational, a probate lawyer can help mitigate the conflicts and avoid court battles.
If you need to go to court and present estate before a judge, you will most likely need an attorney for probate. In many cases, wills and other estate and probate documents are not written clearly. These situations lead to the heirs needing the help of a probate attorney to interpret the contents of the will.
Will disputes result in litigation. During this stage, all involved parties will benefit from a probate lawyer representing them in court.
When there’s bankruptcy or when the assets are not enough to pay off the taxes, debt, and other administrative expenses, credits will go after the executor of the estate and ask for payment. In this scenario, it’s beneficial for the executor to hire a probate attorney to deal with persistent creditors.