A probate lawyer specializes in the legal process of probate, which is the official proving of a will. Here are some key functions and ways a probate lawyer can assist you:
- Probate lawyers often assist individuals in planning their estates, including drafting wills, establishing trusts, and advising on other strategies to distribute assets according to their wishes.
Guidance Through Probate Process:
- When a person passes away, their estate goes through the probate process. A probate lawyer can guide you through this legal procedure, ensuring that the deceased person’s assets are distributed according to their will or the state’s intestacy laws if there is no will.
- The probate lawyer helps validate the authenticity of the deceased person’s will. This involves submitting the will to the probate court, proving its legitimacy, and addressing any challenges or disputes that may arise.
- Identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s assets is a crucial step in the probate process. A probate lawyer can assist in this task, ensuring that all assets are accounted for and properly valued.
Creditor Notification and Debt Settlement:
- Probate lawyers notify creditors of the deceased person’s passing and work on settling outstanding debts from the estate’s assets. They can negotiate with creditors to reduce debts if necessary.
Distribution of Assets:
- Once debts and taxes are settled, a probate lawyer helps in distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or state laws.
- In case of disputes among heirs or beneficiaries, a probate lawyer can mediate and, if necessary, represent the interests of their client in court.
Tax Planning and Filing:
- Probate lawyers can provide advice on estate tax issues and help with the filing of necessary tax returns related to the deceased person’s estate.
- If there are legal challenges or disputes during the probate process, a probate lawyer can provide legal representation to protect the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries.
Engaging a probate lawyer can simplify the complex legal process associated with the distribution of an estate, providing expertise and guidance during a potentially challenging time.
Some probate lawyers we have succefully used in the past include: