Whether you or a family member passes away, a probate lawyer can ensure that estate assets are accounted for and that only beneficiaries will receive them. Otherwise, the state will take responsibility for the execution of an estate that is left intestate. When someone dies without a will, their belongings must go through a probate trial. This trial is public and is subject to the whims and fancies of public attendants or an unconcerned judge. A lawyer helps in either case.
With legal help, you dictate how probate plays out or if it’s even initiated.
What a Probate Lawyer Does
The Execution of a Probate Lawyer
The license of your lawyer enables them to be an executor or to work closely alongside one. Executors are those whom the court gives power to administer an estate when its owner dies. This administration may or may not be led by the oversight of a public court. When started, the objective is to ensure that a person’s assets get accounted for and that any legal wishes they left behind are honored with care. You might need a lawyer to ensure that this happens.
A lawyer will enable you to contest a will or the judgment of a public court. When such is the case, your legal aide needs to present a strong argument, which will, if proven correct or just, grant you access to estate assets. You can also advise a court on how to distribute assets.
Working With the Law and Court
Working within the legal parameters set forth by the state is important. Now, there are ways to avoid probate; however, there are specific steps you need to take if probate becomes inevitable. It will be inevitable if the person who died, who’s the decedent, only has a will or never put forth an estate plan. Lawyers guide you before or after an estate owner’s death. They give you the advantage of knowing how the courts work and how they will operate as proceedings begin.
Debts and Bills
When assigned as executor, an attorney will be responsible for paying the bills and debts of the decedent they work for. If that decedent is a family member, you can ensure that the assigned attorney will find and collect their financial responsibilities. This is important because some debts can negate your inheritance. Likewise, your debts can disable your beneficiaries from obtaining your assets. The duties that get left behind might be as small as electricity bills or car payments. Unless these will remain to be used, an attorney gets them paid and ceased.
Beneficiaries are those who will inherit all of some of the assets left behind by a decedent. These not only need to receive what is legally theirs, but they need to be informed of when the decedent dies. During probate, specifically, all parties of interest have to be located and notified of a public court hearing. Beneficiaries have the right to accept the terms of a decedent or contest their wishes. If they don’t want an inheritance, this can also be processed via an attorney. Attorneys may be granted up to a year to continue to search for beneficiaries who’re missing.
Collecting Assets and Payments
The importance of accountability during a probate trial cannot be overstated. Probate is a public trial, which means that the government is involved. Be it for taxes, the sake of beneficiaries or paying off debts, all assets have to be accounted for. If there’s negligence or fraud involved in this process, it needs to be sorted out. In some cases, beneficiaries are entitled to less than what was recorded. In other cases, the decedent’s wealth vastly exceeds what was publicly known. Such wealth could offset taxes and any debt that beneficiaries have to pay.
Distributing assets to beneficiaries isn’t always straightforward. At times, assets can only be obtained under special clauses. Some beneficiaries will be under the legal age to possess certain items or authority. The manner in which a decedent asked for their belongings to be dispersed is also important. Taking the time and care to follow their wishes calls for a competent professional. Lawyers will provide this service and be sure to interpret a will critically. Any confusion or disputes among beneficiaries will also require the help of a legal aide.
Dealing With Complaints Made Against a Will
Among the most unfortunate scenarios in a probate trial are disputes about who gets what or how. If probate is necessary, then all parties of interest have the right to delay court proceedings by making requests on their own behalf. This won’t always happen, but when it does, having a plan already in place is the best option. If no plan is in place, consider working with an attorney who can anticipate how other legal proceedings will play out.
Don’t worry about searching too far for a probate lawyer, at Weidner Law we specialize in providing professional probate services. You can reach us at 727-954-8752, and we will give you workable advice.