Losing a loved one can be challenging since you have several tasks. You must complete tasks such as funeral planning, account closure, or becoming a caregiver for a spouse or dependent they left behind.
If you’re tasked as the executor of your loved one’s estate, the task can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. In such instances, you might be wondering whether or not to hire a probate lawyer. Working with a probate lawyer is worth considering since legal issues involving death can be complicated, so you’ll need guidance along the way when settling an estate. One way to ensure a good start is to consult reliable legal professionals such as Two Spruce Law P.C. and others so your case will be on the right track.
What Is Probate?
The probate process involves the settling of estates after a person passes away. It’s a court procedure that can be complicated and usually involves legal jargon.
If you’re wondering how the probate process works, it varies by state, and each will have its own set of instructions. The process varies depending on the will’s instructions and the estate’s assets, beneficiaries, and creditors. The probate process can become complex if there are current disputes between the executor, beneficiaries, or creditors.
The entire process can take a year for most estates, but it all depends on the size and complexity of the estate. Often, disputes can arise during probate between the executor, creditors, beneficiaries, or tax authorities. Unfortunately, when this occurs, it can cause delays in the administration of the estate.
Probate will be easier to manage if you designate a will that clearly defines your wishes. Preparing an estate plan ahead of time is wise because it makes a challenging life event manageable for your loved ones if you pass away.
When someone makes a will, the beneficiary or executor must handle it correctly. In such cases, a probate lawyer is recommended because they have years of experience and specialize in probate law. Hiring the right one can help you navigate the process of administering an estate after a loved one passes away. In general, a probate lawyer will ensure that the deceased’s instructions are followed and that all heirs receive their inheritance with as little difficulty as possible.
Working with a probate lawyer is also a good idea if there are potential issues with the validity of the will, the monetary value is high, or the estate is too complex or large.
When Do You Need A Probate Lawyer’s Service?
Certain situations necessitate the services of a probate lawyer. If you want to know more about possible probate issues you might face, keep reading.
Generally, when the estate’s overall value is over USD$150,000, or the estate holds real property such as a house or commercial establishment, the estate needs to undergo probate. However, regardless of the size of the estate, you can self-administer probate or hire a probate lawyer. Thus, if the estate’s value rises and the circumstances become extremely complicated, consider hiring a reputable probate lawyer for the following reasons:
Consider hiring legal guidance when you cannot devote enough time to the ongoing probate process. When the case involves a high-value estate, you must spend a significant amount of your time. The average timeframe for self-administration of an estate can be lengthy, resulting in higher costs and frustration among heirs, potentially exposing you to adverse claims despite your best efforts.
The possibility of a dispute and litigation is likely if the value of the estate and the number of interested individuals increase.
When there’s not enough money in the estate to pay obligations and taxes, it’s best to obtain legal counsel from a probate lawyer. The process can be relatively straightforward if there’s enough money to pay legitimate debts, with some left for the beneficiaries under the will.
When the number of assets and liabilities increases, so does the value of the estate and the number of heirs. In such cases, it can be a challenging task to handle, especially when covering everything in the probate process. Most of the steps of self-administration of the estate may be unfamiliar to the executor, who may be preoccupied with their own lives and lack time to devote to the demands of the probate process.
What Is A Probate Lawyer’s Role?
A probate lawyer is capable of handling a variety of roles once you decide to hire one. The roles can change depending on the circumstances and whether or not your loved one left a will before passing away.
When a will is available, a probate lawyer will begin completing the papers required to have the will verified in court, demonstrating that it is a true description of the deceased’s final desires. Following this, the lawyer will begin to catalog all of the person’s property for their estate, including any real estate, bank accounts, real property, and any objects of financial worth or those specified in the will. The lawyer will also note down any debts left to be paid, including taxes. The probate lawyer will proceed to resolve any debts, including the sale of assets if necessary.
The lawyer will assist the executor in disbursing the assets following the will. Even if there’s a will, the probate process can be lengthy, depending on the size of the estate.
In scenarios where a will isn’t available, a probate lawyer will assist you in navigating the probate process. The lawyer can help with the cataloging of assets and debts and the establishment of estate accounts.
As for the administration of the estate, it’s usually handed over to a family member, usually appointed by the court. A probate lawyer can advise you on how to file a probate petition to appoint an administrator and help you find family members who are heirs as specified in the will.
If a loved one recently passed away, it can be a stressful point in life where you need to juggle several tasks. Consider hiring a probate lawyer when you find the task of dealing with paperwork and other legalities too much to handle. Doing so can make the legal process manageable while dealing effectively with any obstacles along the way and getting results faster.
Lexinter Law, with a team of dedicated authors who strive to provide you with all the relevant and actionable tips on the legal aspect of your life. Our goal is to educate you so that you can make legal action with ease, or find the right person who can help you with your unique personal legal dilemma. Take care!