Probate is a legal process that transfers the property of a person who has died to their beneficiaries. The probate process can be complicated and confusing, which is why you may want to hire an attorney who specializes in probate law.
Probate attorneys are experts in the field of estate planning and are often called upon to help those who have died and need to transfer their property to their beneficiaries. Thus, in this article, you will find out everything you need to know about a Probate Attorney. So, let’s start!
What Is A Probate Attorney?
Probate is a legal process that validates a will, appoints an executor, and distributes estate assets.
A probate attorney is a lawyer who specializes in the probate process. They can help you execute a will (if you’re the executor), contest or defend a will, or if you’re named in a will as an heir or beneficiary of an estate.
An attorney guides you through the probate process. This includes many administrative tasks that can be confusing and time-consuming.
If you’re the executor, they’ll help you file all necessary documents with the local court system. They can also track down any heirs and ensure they receive proper notice of the probate proceeding.
If there are contested issues or claims against the estate, they can represent your interests during negotiations or litigation. If someone contests the validity of the will, they can present evidence to prove its authenticity (and protect your interests).
An attorney can also help you execute any special provisions of the will, such as creating trusts for minor children.
Roles And Responsibilities Of A Probate Attorney
In many cases, probate attorneys will service families of the deceased but they can also represent financial institutions; creditors; or be appointed as the executor of the estate themselves.
- Roles and responsibilities of a probate attorney include:
- Filing petitions for probate with the court to open a case
- Providing notice to beneficiaries, creditors and heirs regarding the case
- Collecting assets from the deceased including property and cash assets
- Evaluating claims against the estate by creditors or other parties
- Resolving any tax issues associated with the assets being transferred including death taxes, income taxes, etc.
- Settling any outstanding debts associated with the deceased’s property or estate
- Distributing assets as outlined in the will or trust
- Drafting documents such as wills on behalf of their clients at their request
When There Is A Will
When the deceased left a will, the probate attorney helps to execute it. He also ensures that all parties involved adhere to the law. The following are the main roles and responsibilities of a probate lawyer in executing a will:
- Helps to prepare all relevant documents and obtain signatures from the executor or administrator
- Identify and value assets of the deceased estate
- Evaluate claims against the estate by creditors and beneficiaries
- Help create an inventory of the estate for tax purposes
- Ensure that all creditors are paid off and relevant taxes on the estate are cleared
- Prepare accounting records for beneficiaries and distribute remaining funds to them
Without A Will
The responsibilities of a probate attorney without a will are as follows:
- File the Petition for Probate and pay the filing fee.
- Give notice of petition to all heirs, devisees, and creditors.
- If the decedent owned real property, file for a date for an appointment for special administrator.
- Prepare an inventory and appraisal identifying all assets in the probate estate that have a value over $20,000.00 at the time of death with descriptions and values (to be filed within four months after appointment).
- Prepare and/or obtain a bond for the personal representative (to be filed within four months after appointment).
- If there is real property belonging to the estate, prepare a preliminary change in ownership report (to be filed within four months after appointment).
- Pay taxes, debts and expenses of administration including compensation to personal representative if allowed by law (as they come due).
Do You Need A Probate Attorney?
Probate attorneys provide legal guidance to executors as they go through the probate process. If a loved one has recently passed away and named you as the executor of their estate, you will be responsible for filing the will with the court and distributing assets to beneficiaries. You may need a lawyer to help you navigate this process.
Probate is required when an individual passes away and leaves property that needs to be transferred to their heirs. The process can be complicated, especially if there are challenges to the will or disputes among beneficiaries. A probate attorney can provide legal guidance throughout the process and ensure it’s completed accurately and efficiently.
You may also want to hire a probate attorney if you’re an executor, but don’t live in the same state where probate is taking place. Attorneys are licensed by state, so you’ll need to find a lawyer who is licensed in the state of your loved one’s death.