Securing your deceased loved ones’ assets can be a bit overwhelming for some. Moreover, the need for probate can further complicate this process. But hiring skilled probate lawyers can make this process easy.
Who is a probate lawyer?
A state-licensed lawyer helps the executor of the will to allocate the property or properties of a deceased person to its beneficiaries.
What does a probate lawyer do?
A probate lawyer oversees the property sharing matters of a deceased person by following the state laws and will of the deceased person. He also aids the executor of the will to find the beneficiaries and clears any disputes regarding the property distribution.
What are the responsibilities of a probate lawyer?
The responsibilities of a probate lawyer are as follows:
- File a legal petition to the judge for a personal representative
A personal representative is someone who will monitor the probate property. It is a general term for the executor or administrator.
If the deceased has left a will, he would have stated the name of a personal representative. Then the judge appoints the person as the personal representative. In this case, he is called an executor of the will.
If the deceased hasn’t left a name, then the judge appoints someone to be the personal representative according to state laws. Very often, a close acquaintance of a deceased will be appointed. If that person is not willing, then the judge chooses another according to the norms of the law. In this case, the person elected is called an administrator.
- Identifying and securing all the assets of the decease.
A probate lawyer helps the personal executive to find and secure the deceased person’s assets. This is done with the help of will, financial statements, and legal statements.
- Assisting the executor to settle debts or bill
After securing the assets, the executor must look out for debts that need to be paid before dividing the property among its beneficiaries. A probate lawyer will assist the executor in this process. In case of debts, it will be paid from the assets of the deceased.
- Checking for income tax issues and settling it, if any
A probate attorney can help an executor to check for possible income tax issues and resolve them hassle-free if there are any.
- Get the appraisal of the assets.
Finding the worth of an estate is an important part of the probate process. Probate lawyers usually aid the executors to find the date-of-death value. A date-of-death value is the fair market value of the assets as of the day the owner died. Beneficiaries need to find this value to pay taxes or sell the property. It is also needed to determine any occurrence of state or federal law tax.
- Allocating assets of the deceased to the right beneficiaries
After securing the properties, paying debts or taxes, and finding the date-of-death value, the probate lawyer then aids the executor in dividing the assets among the rightful. He will also take care of any disputes happening in connection with the allocation.
What are the points to be considered while hiring a probate lawyer?
These are some of the things that need to be noted before hiring a probate lawyer:
- Seek information about the attorney’s law school and professional experience.
This can be done by looking at any law firm’s website.
- Find any previous clients of the attorney and enquire about him.
This will help you to decide whether or not to hire this particular lawyer.
- Enquire about the fees and come into an agreement from the start
The fees charged by them are usually higher because of the duties involved, and hence it is important to have an agreement on that.
Alison Lurie is a farmer of words in the field of creativity. She is an experienced independent content writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry. She is a multi-niche content chef who loves cooking new things.