The old saying goes that you shouldn’t carry it with you when pass away. However, a probate attorney can assist surviving family members pay off your debts and divide the assets you have left after your death regardless of having a will. What is a probate attorney?
What Is a Probate Lawyer?
Generally speaking, probate lawyers, also called estate or trust lawyers, help executors who are executors of an Estate (or “administrators,” if there is no will) oversee their probate procedure.
They may also aid in the planning of estates like the creation of wills or living trusts provide advice regarding power of attorneys or serve as executors or administrators.
This article will focus on the kind of work that is typically done by a probate attorney. Check out the FindLaw’s Planning An estate, Probate and Utilise Probate and estate Planning Lawyer sections for more resources.
What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?
What the probate lawyer’s role will likely be contingent upon whether or whether the deceased has drawn up an estate plan in the time before they died.
When There Is a Will
If someone dies in the presence of the testamentary will, an probate attorney can be hired to provide advice to individuals, like executors of estates, or the beneficiary on a variety of legal matters.
For instance, a lawyer could look over the will to ensure that it wasn’t executed under pressure (or in violation of what is in the interest of the deceased). People with dementia could, for instance, be prone to being influenced by people who wish to take an inheritance.
There are many reasons for wills to be overturned however, the majority of wills pass through probate without issue.
When There Is No Will
If you die and have not made a will and have signed it and have not signed a will, you’re said to have passed away ” intestate.” In this case the estate is divided according to the intestacy statutes of the states in which the property is located regardless of your wishes.
If, for instance, you’re married, the survivor spouse gets all of your property that is intestate according to a variety of states’ laws on intestate. However, laws on intestacy differ significantly from state to.
In these cases in these situations, a probate attorney may be hired to help with the administration of an estate (similar to an executor) and the estate’s assets will be divided in accordance with state laws. Probate lawyers can help with some of the duties mentioned above, but they are legally bound by the state’s intestacy laws regardless of the deceased’s wishes or relatives’ wishes.
A relative who would like to serve as the administrator of the estate must first get ” renunciations” from the other relatives of the decedent. Renunciations are a legal document that renounces one’s right to manage the estate.
An attorney for probate can assist in filing these declarations before the probate court and then aid the administrator in the process of probate (managing the checkbook of the estate and determining taxes for estates and securing assets, etc. ).
What Is the Role of a Probate Lawyer?
Additionally, a probate attorney may be responsible for performing any of the following tasks when advising an executor/administrator:
- The collection and management of the proceeds of life insurance
- Appraisal of the property decedent owned
- Securing and securing the entirety of the assets belonging to the decedent.
- Giving advice on how to pay the debts of the deceased and pay off the debt.
- Filing and preparing documents in accordance with the requirements of the probate court.
- Controlling the estate’s checkbook.
- Determining if any estate taxes are due.
When Do You Need a Probate Lawyer?
Although it’s good to hire a lawyer to help you with the probate procedure, it’s never essential to engage one. If you require an attorney or not is contingent on how large your estate.
Before you sign a contract with an attorney, make sure you ask these questions:
- Is your jurisdiction able to offer an simple probate procedure?
- Do the family members who are part of the same group have a good relationship with one another?
- Does the estate’s estate enough to cover any outstanding debts?
- What kind of property is included in the estate?
- Can the estate be distributed with no probate?
How Much Do Probate Lawyers Typically Charge?
Probate lawyers usually employ three different methods to bill their clients:
- Charges are based on hourly rates
- Flat fee
- Payments are based on a certain proportion of the estate’s worth
The amount will be determined by the attorney’s expertise and experience, as well as other factors such as where the attorney works.
What’s the Difference Between a Probate and Estate Planning Lawyer?
Although probate attorneys and estate planning lawyers typically practice within the same field of law, they do have distinct distinctions.
A probate attorney typically is responsible for estate administration following a person’s dies. The estate planner however deals with clients who are living to determine how their clients’ estates should be managed. An attorney can help by helping clients create trusts, wills and other documents that are relevant.
What Questions Should You Ask a Probate Lawyer?
If you choose to hire an attorney for probate cases it is recommended to ask the below questions.
- Are they experts on probate laws? (Ask whether they’ve handled similar cases to yours in the past.)
- What is the lawyer’s plan to cost you?
- What does the lawyer plan to proceed with your case?
- What’s the procedure in your particular instance?
- Does the lawyer personally handle your case?
Speak to a Probate Attorney to Get Help With the Probate Process
If you are in charge of the administration of the estate of someone who passed away without a will or you were named executor of an estate, it’s probably an excellent idea to talk to an expert probate lawyer for assistance during the entire process.