What Does a Probate Attorney Do?
Probate is a legal process that occurs after a person passes away and the estate of the deceased needs to be distributed to the beneficiaries. In this case, the probate process envisages the distribution of the deceased’s assets according to state laws and in line with the will. However, if you have lost a loved one and unsure where to start, you might find the probate process tedious and complicated, and a probate attorney can help you navigate through the process.
Here is a brief elucidation on everything you need to know about a probate lawyer and how a probate attorney can help you.
What does a Probate Attorney do?
Simply put, a probate attorney is a state licensed attorney who works with the executors and beneficiaries of an estate to help in the legal distribution of the deceased’s assets. This normally arises where there is complexity in terms of distribution and handling the deceased’s estate affairs.
The basis of the involvement of a probate lawyer depends on the circumstances of that estate. Normally, their involvement in your case depends on the estate’s value and whether there is a will left by the deceased.
In cases where there is no will, you might find it imperative to involve a lawyer to help you file a claim for inclusion as a beneficiary or equal distribution. On the other hand, where there is a will, an attorney can help you challenge its validity, leading to litigation.
What Should You Expect?
Generally, a probate lawyer will help you manage the probate process. This includes helping you fill out the relevant forms, submit them to the local probate court in a timely fashion, obtain appraisals of the deceased person’s property, and advise you on actions and communications to undertake during the probate process.
Additionally, your probate lawyer can help you in the following:
- Sale of estate property
- Settle disputes ensuing between the beneficiaries and the executor.
- Identify and secure probate assets.
Under What Conditions Do You Need A Probate Attorney?
You may choose to undertake the probate process independently since there is no legal mandatory provision requiring you to have a probate attorney. However, the following conditions present exceptional circumstances where you’ll need a probate attorney:
- If there is contention as to the validity of a will, a probate attorney can help you either prove that the will is valid or invalid, depending on the circumstances.
- If the estate of the deceased includes a business or commercial real estate.
- If the estate of the deceased is not sufficient to cover all of its debts.
- If the estate’s value exceeds the state or federal estate tax exemption limits, and you’ll need to file estate tax returns.
Dealing with the death of a loved one can be a sad and complicated process. This isn’t easy, especially where you are going through the probate process on your own. A probate attorney can help you navigate through this tedious process.
Contact the Slaughter Law Firm today to help you simplify and expedite the entire probate process.