You might have heard the old saying that goes; it is impossible to take everything you possess along with you when you pass away. But to understand the significance of a probate attorney, there are things you need to ponder on.
First of all, these professionals can help your surviving loved one settle your outstanding debts and distribute your estate assets once you are no more. The services of these experts are needed both in case there is a will or there is none.
Understanding the Role of a Probate Attorney
Generally speaking, such lawyers are also known as trust or estate lawyers. They help the estate executors in managing the entire probate procedure. They can also help the estate administrators in the absence of a will.
These professionals might even provide suggestions and assistance with the estate planning procedure. They can be of good help in drafting living trusts or will, offering advice on medical powers of attorney, and serving as administrators or executors.
The executor or the person-in-charge of handling the estate of the deceased should navigate the entire court system and even comply with the court schedules and guidelines. Executors need to take up the responsibility of executing the complex will provisions, creating complicated court-required paperwork, obtaining federal tax identification numbers, and securing probate bonds while managing funds.
All this and even minor issues related to the estate might present extra burdens on the executor, especially if they do not have the right preparation to deal with the same. DIY legal fixes might not work in such circumstances. Hence, it becomes necessary to consider the advantages of working with a probate lawyer.
When Do You Need Experienced and Knowledgeable Probate Attorney?
Probate is an exhausting and tedious court proceeding where the involved parties need to submit documents, file notices, and inform different government entities about scheduled hearings. At times, during the process, the court representative or the judge might ask the involved individuals to review the different documents.
This might have the concerned parties scurrying throughout the court without much time and notice. This is why it becomes necessary to get the services of an experienced and knowledgeable probate attorney.
Going for the services of an attorney can help you in skipping the court sessions completely as the lawyer will take care of all affairs on behalf of his or her client.
Lawyers Advise the Estate Executor with the Following Matters
- locating the assets of the decedent, including all probate and non-probate property.
- In preparing and filing all the paperwork required for the probate procedure.
- In getting appraisals and values for all the assets of an estate.
- managing the payment of the decedent’s outstanding debts and bills while keeping proper track of his or her existing bank accounts.
- In managing the deceased’s life insurance payments and retirement plans along with 401Ks and IRAs.
- Handling the yet to come inheritance taxes and estate taxes at both state and federal levels.
- In deciding where to get the money for clearing the pending bills and taxes.
- In handling income tax problems of the deceased and in settling the same along with disputes between the beneficiaries and the executors.
- Taking care of the entire estate asset distribution procedure of the decedent after all the outstanding bills and debts are paid off.
- assisting with the estate property sale and requesting the court permission for different actions as needed by state laws.
All these services and more can be expected from a probate attorney when it comes to completing the process from its very roots.
Is It Possible to Handle the Probate Process without a Lawyer?
Of course, it is possible to do so, and it can even help you save a huge amount of money. But this is just the primary factor. The secondary thought here is that it would be impossible for you to handle the process without an attorney considering how complicated and lengthy the process is in reality.
The probate procedure is quite complex. It requires the skills and attention of a dedicated and experienced attorney. The lawyer you choose should understand the in-depth rules and regulations of the whole court system.
Inexperienced lawyers in this field will not be able to handle this important procedure professionally. If you choose to handle the process yourself, you might be liable for the things that go wrong or for certain omissions. You might also be liable for not sending copies of the petition or for missing deadlines.
Such failures can delay the probate proceedings and even stop it completely. Hence, it makes sense to work in coordination with a probate attorney.