Probate Lawyer: All You Need To Know!
If you are an avid real estate investor, a beneficiary, an executor, or an estate representative, you must have often heard the term “probate litigation attorney”. Perhaps you must also be acquainted with the probate process.
But, you may often wonder about hiring a probate lawyer while handling probate real estate. To help you understand the role of probate lawyers in detail, this blog enlists what a probate litigation lawyer is, what he/she does, and why you would actually need to hire one to guide you through the legal process of probate.
What is a Probate Lawyer?
Since probate is a long, complex, stressful, and time-consuming process, dealing with it on your own may feel like a daunting task, especially after losing a near & dear one. As a result, it’s always a good idea to hire a probate attorney!
But, what is a probate attorney? Probate attorneys are qualified and state-licensed probate litigation lawyers who can help estate executors, representatives, and beneficiaries handle an estate dealing through a probate court.
Typically, the services of a probate lawyer (also called an estate attorney) include everything ranging from seeking & listing the assets of a probate estate, paying off debts & tax dues the estate may have, distributing the assets, settling the probate estate, and so on.
What Does A Probate Lawyer Do?
The role of a probate attorney in probate dealing largely depends on the requirements of the estate executor or representative, the presence or absence of a decedent’s will, the legal challenges put up by the beneficiaries or debtors, and the hardships associated with the probate estate.
All in all, a probate lawyer can provide you with legal advice and offer services like seeking, inventorying, and securing a decedent’s estate, preparing & filing essential documents asked by the probate court, managing the estate’s tax account, and much more.
Still, to be precise, here’s what a probate attorney does in the presence or absence of a decedent’s will:
When A Decedent’s Will Exists?
If an estate owner passes away leaving behind a valid and signed will, the estate executor or administrator may hire a probate litigation attorney to get help and assistance throughout the probate process according to the terms of the descendent’s will.
In case, a beneficiary or someone who is not mentioned in the will challenges the will to be invalid or signed under duress, the probate attorney may represent a party in probate litigation.
When A Decedent’s Will Doesn’t Exist?
If an estate owner dies intestate, the state inheritance laws determine who would inherit the property. The state intestacy laws may vary widely. However, the probate attorney and the estate executor or administrator handling the estate should distribute the property according to state intestacy laws.
Why Hire A Probate Lawyer?
Although hiring a probate attorney is not mandated, hiring one can help you get through the probate process smoothly and quickly. They can provide experienced and trusted guidance, especially in situations where you are dealing with a complicated or large estate.
Here are some instances where beneficiaries and estate executors or representatives would be benefited from hiring a probate attorney:
- Conflicts: A probate lawyer can represent the estate in probate litigation if the beneficiaries indulge in conflicts about the decedent’s will. The lawyer can represent the wishes of the decedent in the probate court and help settle disputes. Surprisingly, most probate lawyers find out a resolution to an estate’s disputes by taking the issue to the probate court in a short time and at minimal or no expense.
- Drafting Contracts: A probate attorney can draft a legal contract for the beneficiaries in need. For instance, if a decedent’s estate is inherited by two siblings and out of them only one wishes to sell the property, and the other doesn’t, a probate attorney may guide them through the situation. Generally, in such a case, one sibling sells the property to the other. And the contract needed to execute the process can be drafted by a probate attorney.
- Transfer Of Business Ownership: A probate lawyer is usually required when a decedent’s estate includes a business. If the decedent owned the business in partnership, his/her portion needs to be sold off or transferred to the business partner. However, if the decedent was a sole proprietor, a probate attorney will be needed to close the business, sell it off, or transfer the ownership to a beneficiary.
- Unclear Will: Sometimes, a decedent’s will fails to state clear wordings on specific points. That’s when a probate attorney needs to be hired to interpret the meaning or present the will in the probate court for clear interpretation. Finding out what the decedent actually tried to mention on such points or clauses of the will on your own may be difficult and stressful. As a result, it’s always a good idea to hire a probate litigation attorney in such a situation.
- Complex Issues: Sometimes, the personal representative or executor of a probate estate can deny a claim made by a creditor. However, to defend this in the probate court, he/she would need to hire a probate attorney. That’s mainly because probate lawyers are qualified and experienced in dealing with such situations.
Tips To Remember
If you consider hiring a probate attorney, here are some essential things to bear:
➔ It’s good to be aware of the need for a probate attorney before hiring one.
➔ It’s helpful to list the total assets owned by an estate along with the challenges and disputes associated with it.
➔ As a beneficiary, estate administrator, or executor, you should know how the assets of the decedent’s estate are held.
➔ Consider hiring a probate lawyer if the estate of your loved one qualifies for a formal probate litigation process.
As an estate administrator or executor, you may want to work with a probate litigation attorney. However, it’s important to understand when you should actually hire a lawyer to deal with the estate of your near or dear one. Hopefully, this blog helped you learn what probate lawyers are, what they do, and when you should actually consider hiring a lawyer.
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