What Does a Probate Attorney Do?
A probate attorney is a legal professional who is specialized in handling the distribution of assets after an individual’s death. They also handle estate planning documents such as trusts, advance directives, power of attorneys, and wills.
They can also assist with local laws that determine inheritance if the deceased died without a will, known as intestate state law. They can provide full-service representation and accompany you to court appearances. Consult Koestner & Shahon for professional help.
When someone dies, their estate must be divided according to the stipulations in their will and local laws. Investopedia notes that the process is often complicated and can take weeks to months to complete. A probate attorney will help ensure that all beneficiaries receive their inheritance as the law requires.
They will help settle disputes and may even have to go to court if necessary. For example, if two siblings inherit their parents’ house but one wants to sell it while the other wants to keep it, they will need a lawyer to draw up a contract that meets all parties’ needs. The lawyer will also need to work with financial managers, insurance specialists, and others who may be involved in the case.
Probate attorneys will help pay debts and taxes for the estate. They will also manage any checking accounts and collect proceeds from life insurance policies, among other things. They will be able to determine if there are any state or inheritance taxes that need to be paid and will file them accordingly. The attorney will also be able to help beneficiaries with transferring assets, as the law dictates that certain people are entitled to their share of the estate (e.g., a living spouse).
A good probate attorney will have experience with handling cases of all sizes and complexity. They will know how to handle different types of cases and will be able to work quickly. They will also be familiar with a particular judge and county, which can make the process much smoother.
Some lawyers charge a flat fee for their services, while others request a percentage of the gross value of the estate, minus any debts such as mortgages on property. It is important to ask about the fees for your specific case before hiring a lawyer.
You should hire a probate attorney who is knowledgeable about local laws and experienced in settling estates. They will be able to handle your case efficiently and effectively, which is important because the longer the process takes, the more expensive it is.
They Help You Deal With Disputes
It’s not uncommon for disputes to arise during the probate process. This can be due to various factors, such as disagreements over the validity of a will or issues with debts and inherited property. A probate attorney can help you deal with these issues by advising you on your legal options. They can also represent you in court if necessary.
Probate attorneys can help you deal with disputes between beneficiaries, other parties, and the personal representative. For example, if someone contests that the will is invalid or was not signed under free and clear conditions, the probate lawyer can take the issue to court. They can also help you settle these disputes by using mediation or negotiation.
The attorney can also assist you if a creditor has made a claim against the estate. In this case, the lawyer can help you make sure that creditors are notified properly and given a deadline to enter their claims. They can also ensure that the personal representative is not taking assets from the estate without paying the debts.
A probate lawyer can also help you with tax issues. This includes filing estate taxes and inheritance tax returns. They can also assist you with settling debts and preparing financial statements for the estate. They can even manage any bank accounts and collect the proceeds from life insurance policies on behalf of the estate.
It’s important to hire a probate attorney who is experienced in this area of law. While some general practice lawyers may offer probate services, it’s best to find one who focuses on this field of law. This way, you can rest assured that they will have the skills and knowledge needed to get the job done quickly and efficiently. In addition, it’s best to hire a probate attorney who is familiar with the judges in your area. This will help speed up the process because judges have different ways of handling cases. Lastly, it’s good to hire an attorney who offers hourly rates or a flat fee so you know exactly how much you’re spending and can control the cost of the service.
They Help You Assist the Personal Representative
The personal representative plays a crucial role in settling an estate, especially when there is no will. They are charged with distributing the decedent’s assets according to state law and the stipulations of the will (if there is one). In order to ensure that this is done properly, they should seek the counsel of a probate attorney.
A probate lawyer will be able to guide them through the estate administration process, which is typically quite complicated. This includes identifying and listing all of the deceased’s property, paying off legal debts and filing any income or estate taxes that are due. They can also help manage any checking accounts or collect proceeds from life insurance policies. They can even help find, identify and secure real estate that belongs to the estate.
Often times, disputes will arise during the course of the estate administration. These may include claims by creditors, heirs or beneficiaries. A probate attorney can help resolve these issues quickly and efficiently, allowing the estate to proceed through the probate process more smoothly.
Some disputes may be more serious and require litigation. A probate attorney will be able to represent the estate in court if need be, which can save time and money in the long run. They can also help the personal representative defend themselves against lawsuits filed by individuals who believe that they are entitled to certain inheritances or payments from the estate.
When hiring a probate attorney, be sure to understand the fee structure. Will they charge an hourly rate or a flat fee? It is important to have a clear understanding of the fees so that you are not surprised by any unexpected expenses down the road. You should also determine how experienced the attorney is, as this will impact how well they can handle your case. As a result, it is important to choose an attorney with a significant amount of experience in handling complex estates and disputes.
They Help You Draft Documents
Regardless of the size or complexity of an estate, probate lawyers can help with legal documents. In some cases, this may include drafting and filing petitions, assessing date of death value, locating assets, drafting tax elections and filings, collecting life insurance proceeds, defending against creditor claims and transferring ownership of real property.
They also help heirs with their inheritance distributions. In this case, a probate attorney will work with heirs to determine their entitlements and ensure that any taxes are paid. Lastly, probate attorneys also write legal opinions and draft other court-related documents.
A probate attorney will need to have excellent organizational skills and a deep knowledge of estate law to be successful. In addition, they must be able to provide legal advice quickly and accurately. They are also required to be licensed as a lawyer and have passed the LSAT exam. According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a probate attorney is $102,094 per year.
The most important aspect of a probate attorney is their ability to settle estates efficiently and fairly. The process of settling an estate is lengthy, and many people need the help of a qualified lawyer. A probate attorney can help with the complex legal issues that often arise, including challenges to a will and disputes between heirs.
If you need a probate attorney, it is essential to find one who offers a full range of services and has experience with your type of estate. A full range of services includes assisting the personal representative, drafting and filing petitions, assessing dates of death values, locating assets, drafting tax elections, defending against creditor claims, and assisting with the sale of assets.