The probate process covers every aspect of estate administration. It includes validating the will to settle the deceased’s estate and appointing an estate administrator. Moreover, it also includes calculating the worth of all estate assets, identifying beneficiaries, distributing assets, etc. Now people consider probate as a complex process. However, people usually opt for hiring a probate lawyer to distribute the deceased’s funds and estate. However, working with the probate attorney to settle an estate is not always necessary.
What is a Probate Attorney?
A probate attorney is a state-licensed legal representative who helps the estate beneficiaries or executors of the will through the probate proceeding. Moreover, they work on settling the estate. The court assigns various responsibilities to a probate lawyer throughout the process. Furthermore, these responsibilities can vary according to the state’s probate laws where the deceased died. These include identifying and securing probate assets and ensuring the timely filing of the necessary documents required by the probate court. The task also includes selling estate property, advising on paying the deceased’s bills and debts, and more.
Some other responsibilities of a probate lawyer are as follows:
- To collect the life insurance proceeds
- To figure out and pay the outstanding estate and income taxes
- To determine and pay inheritance taxes
- To make final distributions after paying taxes and bills
- To open and also manage the checking account of the estate
- To order property appraisals for real property
- To prepare and file all probate court documents
- To retitle assets in the names of beneficiaries
When there is No Need for a Probate Lawyer?
It is time to wonder if there is a requirement for working with a probate lawyer. Here are some questions, the answer to which will help one know when there is no requirement for a probate lawyer.
Can one transfer the asset of the deceased outside of probate?
If the deceased party correctly plans the estate, then an individual might not need to handle the issues in a court setting; thus, there is no need to hire a probate lawyer. Likewise, one can manage common assets like the survivorship community and the joint tenancy outside the probate court. One can do it without professional help. Also, hiring a probate lawyer is unnecessary for any assets in which there is no name of the deceased’s beneficiary.
Is the estate big enough to pay off the debts?
Hiring a probate lawyer can be avoided if the estate is big enough to pay off all existing. Moreover, there is also no requirement when the legitimate debts, like medical bills, final income taxes, funeral expenses, etc. But an individual should consider working with a professional probate lawyer when the estate does not have enough money to pay these bills. This is because they are skilled and experienced enough to figure out how to pay their debts.
Does the estate owe the federal estate taxes?
Many states do not require paying federal estate taxes. If this is the case, one does not need a probate lawyer. But if the estate is large enough to owe estate taxes, it is better to work with an attorney familiar with the same process.
Are family members getting along?
If the family members are satisfied with the will of the deceased, then there is no requirement for a probate lawyer. But if a family is making noises about suing over the estate, it is recommended to contact a professional lawyer immediately.
Does the estate constitute complicated assets?
It is relatively simpler to settle the estate consisting of common assets like a bank, vehicles, household goods, house, or brokerage accounts. Thus, it does not require a probate lawyer to handle the same. However, dealing with more complicated assets like commercial real estate, business, or any other help requires an expert’s involvement.
Dealing with the death of a close one can be stressful and complicated, precisely when the Will for an estate is involved. Although probate lawyers are professional enough to handle the entire probate process, there are cases when an individual might not need to hire an attorney. After asking some discussed questions, one can figure out when there is no requirement for a probate lawyer. Some cases when no probate lawyer is required are estates containing simple assets, no will contest among family members, no federal estate taxes, and more.