Wondering if a probate lawyer is right for you?
Whether you’re in charge of another person’s estate or planning for your own future, there are many different ways a probate lawyer can help. They make estate planning infinitely easier and prevent you from running into problems.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the reasons you should hire a probate lawyer. Keep reading to learn more!
What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?
The process of deciding that a will is valid and accurate is called “probating an estate.” In this step, the court takes a look at the will and decides that it’s valid.
Describing the process is simple, but the actual process is not so straightforward. If probating doesn’t get done right, the person in charge of the estate can become liable for any mistakes made in distribution.
It’s incredibly difficult for someone without a thorough working knowledge of the law to probate an estate. This results in surviving loved ones having to go through extra stress as they try to navigate the legal process. Many times, these people need time to grieve and take care of other responsibilities, not worry about probating.
That’s where a probate lawyer comes in. These lawyers have knowledge of probate law. Working with them takes away the guesswork and potential for errors, and makes the whole process much faster.
Probate lawyers don’t need to be paid by the person who hires them – they’ll be paid from the estate. Still not sure if a probate lawyer is right for you? Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons to hire one.
1. Keep the Family from Conflict
Hiring a probate attorney is a great way to prevent needless family conflict.
Without a lawyer, many family members may want to be a part of the probate process, which adds to the conflict and confusion. If you don’t allow them to participate, they might feel like you’re hiding something. But the more people get on board, the more difficult the process becomes.
Tensions can arise when people disagree on the best way to approach probate issues. However, a lawyer gets rid of this potential conflict and offers clarity for any questions family members might have. This also reduces the chances that someone will be accused of not properly handling the estate.
2. Access the Estate Faster
Probating can be a lengthy process – it often takes over a year. Probating an estate never happens faster than about three or four months. No one can instantly access property, assets, or investments, but having a probate lawyer will make the process much faster.
3. Prevent Claims Against the Estate
When someone passes away, there’s often at least one defendant who tries to make a claim against the estate. This often happens when a family member or spouse wasn’t mentioned in the will but feels like they should have been.
Beneficiaries might also make claims against the estate if they think it isn’t being distributed correctly. However, if you hire a lawyer to help with the process, you can get rid of claims about using the estate for personal gain.
4. Prevent Rejection
For estate probating to happen, a few documents need to be filed with the court first. These documents need to be filled out and filed just right. Otherwise, the court won’t accept them.
If those documents aren’t quite right, your first probate will probably get rejected by the court. This means you need to do more work, and it will take longer to finish probating.
However, when you have a lawyer on board, they’ll know how to file all the documents properly so the probating process can move forward. This means you won’t have to do the tedious paperwork more than once.
5. Answer Questions
You probably will run into questions as you go through the process of probating. Who do you need to notify about the process? Do all assets need probating? What should you do if the deceased had debt?
With a probate lawyer, you can get all these questions and more answered. This advice can be invaluable – if probating isn’t done correctly, you could be personally liable for the mistakes.
6. Deal with Debts Properly
As mentioned above, the deceased might have owed some debts when they passed. Taking care of these financial responsibilities may not be easy, but it is necessary.
You’ll need to spend more time on these debts if the deceased had a complex financial situation. Still, you’ll almost always need to pay some basic debts, including income tax, funeral expenses, and personal loans.
Sometimes, the cost of the debts can come from the estate, but every situation is different. With a lawyer’s advice, you’ll know that you’re doing everything right.
7. Avoid Overpaying
While you work to resolve debts, there’s a risk that you might accidentally overpay. Other mistakes can happen, too, such as underpaying or paying incorrectly.
You’ll also need to have the right legal documents in some cases, such as when you need to let creditors know that an account holder has passed away. This can be incredibly confusing, so let a lawyer take over.
8. Stay Away from Lawsuits
When family members don’t agree with the probating process, lawsuits can be the result. These lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming, and when they involve family members, they can also be emotionally exhausting.
When you have a lawyer on board, everything is clear and open, and you’re less likely to run into a situation that leads to a lawsuit.
9. Avoid Third-Party Delays
Some third parties, like banks, might try to deny you access to the information you need for a long time. However, with a lawyer, that communication will often move forward much faster.
Should You Hire a Probate Lawyer?
Just because you can tackle the task of probating on your own doesn’t mean that you should.
A lawyer can help the process move forward faster and smoother. Instead of running into roadblocks you can’t solve, you’ll have the professional legal support you need.
Looking for the right lawyer? Contact us today.