A probate attorney is someone who helps with the legal complexities involved in the administration of a deceased person’s estate. The complexities can include issues like determining the validity of a will, distributing property, and paying off debts and taxes. This is a critical role that many people need to consider when planning their own estate or dealing with the passing of a loved one.
The primary reason to hire a Probate Attorney is to make sure that the estate is handled in adherence with state law and the deceased individual’s wishes as expressed in their will (if there is one). Additionally, the lawyer can provide expert advice regarding other important issues such as avoiding probate by establishing a living trust or making proper beneficiary designations on bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets.
During the probate process, an attorney can also act as an advisor to both the executor of the estate and the beneficiaries of the estate. This is especially important if there are disputes between parties. For instance, some beneficiaries may believe that the will was signed under duress or undue influence, and in this case the probate attorney would need to be consulted to determine if the document is valid or not.
Another key function of a Probate Attorney is to handle court proceedings and public notices related to the estate. This can involve a variety of tasks such as filing probate papers, publishing public notices, and assigning an “Executor” or “Representative.” A probate attorney may also be needed to defend the estate against claims by creditors or family members.
A Probate Attorney can also assist in selling estate property. The process can be complicated and requires specialized knowledge of the laws in your area. In addition, an attorney can help with other issues that are commonly encountered in this type of case, such as guardianships and conservatorships.
If you are in need of a Probate Attorney, it is a good idea to contact your family, friends, and business acquaintances for recommendations. In addition, you can also search the internet and scan your local newspaper for ads. Once you have found a few probate attorneys that seem appropriate for your needs, it is a good idea to schedule an initial consultation to discuss the matter in detail and determine whether or not they are a good fit.
When evaluating potential Probate Attorneys, it is important to understand how they charge their fees. Most lawyers have an hourly rate that varies depending on location and how specialized or experienced they are. In addition, some attorneys have flat fees that are quoted for a specific case. It is a good idea to evaluate the options and find an attorney that offers reasonable fees without sacrificing experience or reputation. In some cases, a high demand for an attorney will cause them to charge more, but it is essential that you find a balance between quality and affordability.