Probate, if required, starts as soon as a loved one passes away. If the deceased had a will, the estate must go through probate, which is a legal process to validate the will and settle the estate. Without a Will, the decedent has died intestate. In this case, the estate would also go through the probate process. Here, probate attorneys come into the role.
Probate can be expensive, time-consuming, and difficult. It can also be arduous and stressful. After losing a loved one, navigating it on your own may feel too much.
What is a Probate attorney?
A probate attorney is a state-licensed lawyer who can assist the beneficiaries of an estate or the Executor of a Will. At the same time, they strive to settle an estate by guiding them through the probate process. Their duties could often involve locating and cataloging the estate’s assets, comprehending and satisfying any debts the estate might owe, allocating and settling the estate, and more.
Although probate attorneys charge a high price for the basics, such as establishing guardianship, drafting a Will, or writing a Trust, they have prepared to assist with actual Estate Planning.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Probate attorneys?
A lawyer is always a good idea for probate attorneys, especially if:
- The validity of the will can be disputed or ambiguous.
- You are unsure if the estate’s assets will be enough to pay its debts or if they won’t be enough.
- The estate exceeds the value of your personal belongings, or it involves real estate, particularly real estate with debt.
- The estate owed the Back taxes.
- You don’t live in the state where your departed loved one did.
- Conflict exists between relatives or beneficiaries.
- You might worry about being ill-equipped while handling the estate’s administration.
Without hiring an estate lawyer, it is both conceivable and acceptable for you to complete the entire probate process independently. It isn’t straightforward and can expose you and the estate.
Even if you, as the executor, mishandled things, you face the consequences accordingly.
And even if you aren’t, the estate’s beneficiaries risk financial loss. It would be best if you worked under the supervision of an expert who can handle issues comfortably, as hazards are not insignificant.
Keeping in mind that even though this legal procedure is an act of love, a means to respect the memory of your loved one by handling their last affairs, it is crucial to complete it correctly.
Many questions arise when you don’t consult with a lawyer.
1- The will
To start with, Exists a will exist? If not, intestate inheritance laws—which vary from state to state—Will be used to determine who receives what. An attorney’s help will make administering this estate much more straightforward.
Depending on how close you are to your loved one, you might not be the administrator immediately. The next consideration is the adult children after the spouse. Although each state handles this differently, so check the state legal code to find out. As an administrator, you may also be ineligible if you have specific characteristics, including a criminal record, commercial partnerships, and your state of residency.
Is there enough money in the estate to cover all of its debts? If not, guidelines must be explicit about where debts must be paid and when has mentioned. Unorganized bank statements and financial documents, a lack of clarity regarding which banking and financial institutions your loved one used, a lot of unopened letters from collection agencies, or persistent calls about debts are some warning signs of insolvency that can be difficult to identify at first.
A lawyer must be retained if there is any doubt about this matter. Paying the wrong bill first could result in the priority creditors filing lawsuits, which would be costly for both the estate and you personally.
3- Size of the estate
It is advisable to hire a lawyer to defend both you and the estate. Suppose the estate is worth more than $1 million or is significantly larger than your assets. Large estates may also be subject to federal or state estate taxes. For which the assistance of an attorney or accountant is recommended. A good lawyer may typically, if not permanently, save you money because they are so knowledgeable about the subject.
4- Real estate
Did your relative own a home, a condo, or a cooperative that is now included in their estate? Exist any controversies, liens, unpaid taxes, or mortgages on the property? If so, you should hire a lawyer whether you plan to sell the property or transfer the title and mortgage. The average person’s home is their most valuable asset and most sentimental possession.
What was the tax situation for your loved one? You might want to hire an accountant and legal representation if there is a disagreement regarding previous taxes, unpaid back taxes, or a backlog of unsent IRS letters. You must keep track of the IRS during the probate process. Since it is a sizable, slowly moving entity that will eventually demand payment, failure to do so could result in personal culpability.
Said. However, you may usually handle the probate procedure on your own. There are situations when an estate is too intricate or large not to think about hiring a lawyer. If you don’t want to go through this process alone, consider seeking assistance from the professional Probate. They provide unmatched aid and direction to make the probate process simpler.