At one point or another throughout our lifetime we hear about probate lawyers.
If you’re like most people you don’t pay attention until one day you’re faced with the inevitable – you need a probate lawyer.
So what specifically is a probate lawyer?
A probate lawyer manages the filing of the last testament or will of a deceased individual. Sometimes there are some wicked disputes that arise from the disposition of property. Basically a probate lawyer is an estate or a trust lawyer.
Far too many people do not think about finding a probate lawyer until someone has passed away. When this happens, then there is a sense of urgency to hire a probate lawyer therefore not allowing time to shop around for the lawyer who will best represent your interests.
This area of law can be simple and straightforward or it can be confusing and convoluted. All this depends on the degree of estate planning by the deceased while they were living.
Before going any further this is a good time to stress the importance of having a will and making sure you have completed as much as possible to ensure that your family members are not going to experience any added emotional distress after you pass away. It isn’t something we like to do, but in reality it truly can be the best thing you can do for your loved ones while you are alive.
Simply defined, probate is the process that occurs after an individual passes away that involves distributing assets and taking care of any debts. This is a process that happens regardless of whether or not there is a will.
What Exactly Does a Probate Lawyer Do?
Probate attorneys can help you create a last will and testament so that your family members can have some security in the event of your passing away. They also can assist with trust planning (including living trusts) as well as powers of attorney and medical powers of attorney.
In addition, a probate lawyer can help a person with asset protection and of course the preparing and filing of all documents required by a probate court.
There are other matters that probate lawyers deal with such as income tax issues, requesting court permission for various actions as required and the retitling the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries.
Some people question if they really need a lawyer to do all this and there is no for sure answer because ultimately the choice is up each individual.
Legally a lawyer does not have to write a will or handle an estate. This can be done on your own but it is not advisable because failure to execute the property legally may end up in a personal liability lawsuit after all is done. Challenges to a will can and do occur on a regular basis and when this happens it becomes necessary to have a good lawyer who is fully equipped to handle the case.
Making sure that everything is taken care of before passing on is crucial because one mistake may set back the executor of your will by months. An experienced lawyer will know everything that needs to be done in order to probate an estate in a timely manner.
Remember, having a last will and testament may ultimately be the best gift you can give to your loved ones.