What Is A Probate Lawyer?

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“After a loved one passes away, there is a lot to do. How do you deal with the family member’s possessions? What documents and forms do you need to arrange their property and debts? Probate rules could be more precise. Grieving can make the probate process feel overwhelming.”

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What Is A Probate Lawyer?

It is good to know that you don’t have to navigate probate rules or the legal process alone, as you can hire a probate lawyer to guide you through each step. This article explains what Is a Probate Lawyer, whether you need it, how to settle your family member’s estate, and why you may need a probate lawyer.


About Probate Lawyers

As a probate lawyer, you are an attorney licensed in a specific jurisdiction that assists executors and beneficiaries in settling the affairs of a deceased person. In addition, probate lawyers can help resolve their clients’ financial matters before they die.

In terms of property and healthcare, they ensure the wishes of their clients come true. A probate lawyer assists executors throughout the entire probate process. According to the laws of where the deceased lived when they died and where their other properties reside, there will be different steps in the process.

The executor may also consult with the beneficiaries during the probate process regarding various issues the beneficiary presents. These situations may arise if the beneficiary and executor are unable to agree.

The probate lawyer can also specialize in lawsuits about the decedent’s estate. These lawsuits refer to estate litigation, estate, trust litigation, or probate litigation.

  • Executors can receive tax, legal, and estate planning advice.
  • Distribution of estate assets to beneficiaries.
  • Locating and securing probate and non-probate estate assets
  • Appraisal of deceased property.
  • Identification and protection of the deceased’s assets.
  • The last debts and bills of the deceased.
  • Documents needed to prove a court of probate require a person’s will.
  • How to identify the real estate taxes we have to pay?
  • Estate planning includes drafting wills or living Trusts.
  • Advice on the power of attorney issues.
  • Accounts payable and Receivable for the Estate.
  • Resolution of disputes between executors and estate beneficiaries
  • State law requires a court order for specific actions.
  • Locating intestate decedents’ heirs
  • Minors can keep their share of the estate until they become adults.


Probate Lawyers’ Roles

After a certain period, individuals’ estate assets must divide when they die. A probate lawyer helps some individuals do this per the stipulations outlined in their will. This also happens in strict compliance with the laws of the state.

Probate lawyers assist the executor and beneficiaries of the deceased’s will during the probate process. The individuals who guide the probate process ensure that the executor administers the will without bias following state law.

The executor can always seek legal advice from a probate lawyer before handing over assets to beneficiaries. This ensures that all estate beneficiaries receive their fair share. During the probate process, the following steps occur:

  • Identifying the deceased’s assets based on their estate plan
  • Property appraisal for the deceased
  • Management of insurance proceeds
  • Reimbursement of death-related bills (including estate tax returns)
  • Debt settlement for the dead (only legitimate obligations)
  • Filing and preparing documents for probate
  • Managing and settling any estate or inheritance taxes
  • Checkbook management for estates
  • Beneficiary transfer of assets
  • Recovery of estate debts


Interested in knowing what trust is?

Sometimes, it is possible to avoid the probate process if the deceased person’s estate is in a trust before the death. In some cases, no probate application is necessary to distribute assets. This ensures a hitch-free process without legal proceedings.

Interested in knowing what trust is? It refers to a relationship (fiduciary) in which one party (trustor) grants a second party (trustee) the sole right to hold title to an estate for the benefit of another party (beneficiary). The decedent has entrusted a person or persons with the responsibility of sharing their assets with particular beneficiaries based on explicit terms.

As a result, we may have questions such as “Can a probate lawyer and or executor be trustees?” Of course! A probate lawyer, executor, or both can be trustees. This can help to reduce both the stress and the duration of the probate process.


What Probate Attorneys Are Capable Of Carrying Out Of Duties?

Probate attorneys are capable of carrying out a wide range of duties. The type of probate lawyer the executor or administrator hires will depend on the executor or administrator’s needs, whether there was a will, how complicated the estate was, whether beneficiaries or debtors were suing, and other issues relating to the estate.


What Probate Attorneys Are Capable Of Carrying Out Of Duties?


With a Will

If the deceased person leaves a valid, signed will, the administrator will be guided through the probate process by the terms of the will by a probate attorney.

Probate attorneys may represent parties in probate litigation if a beneficiary challenges the will — if the beneficiary believes it is invalid, was signed under duress, or undue influence — if there is a challenge to the will. A will might be challenging for various reasons (although most will pass probate without issues).


Without Will

A person who passes away with no will is said to have died “intestate.” In that case, inheritance laws determine who inherits the property. Depending on the state’s laws governing intestate estates, a surviving spouse may receive all or half of their deceased spouse’s property.

The estate administrator and probate lawyer are bound to distribute property by state intestacy laws. The distribution of estate assets is determined by state law, not by what a deceased person said while they were alive or by how much some family members needed money.

It is possible to hire a probate lawyer to represent a loved one going through court to be named as the estate executor or to assist the person after the probate judge has established it.

An administrator of an estate must first obtain “renunciations” from other relatives of the deceased. Renunciations are legal statements renouncing the right to administer the estate. Assisting the administrator with the probate process can be accomplished by a probate attorney who can help the administrator obtain and submit these statements.


How Do You Know If You Need a Probate Lawyer?

You will need a probate lawyer depending on the size of your estate, as well as how many members of your family intend to share your real estate after you die. We must consider several factors to determine whether you have a valid claim to hire a probate lawyer to deal with the estate’s legal matters. The following factors will allow you to check or uncheck certain boxes.

  • Probate in your state
  • Are you worth a lot or a little?
  • Any life insurance policy and retirement accounts in your estate
  • What is the probate-free distribution of your estate?
  • Is your beneficiary group united?
  • Is estate tax a concern for you?

You can decide if you need the assistance of a probate lawyer by examining these factors and answering them. In addition, you may need to consult with a probate lawyer if there is a will for the estate. It is possible to hire a probate lawyer in either case. We will discuss that in more detail soon.


Is There A Difference Between An Estate Planning Attorney And A Probate Attorney?

It is important to note that even though estate planning and probate are related to estate law, they differ significantly. Generally, probate attorneys handle the estate administration process after someone dies. They may be appointed executors or administrators if there is no one else to do so.

Assisting families with eldercare planning, estate planning attorneys draft wills trusts, living trusts, power of attorney, and other legal documents. Their work can reduce inheritance taxes. Estate planning attorneys can practice both probate and estate planning. They can specialize in either.


Probate Lawyer Fees

The average hourly rate is $200 to $500 for probate lawyers in the United States. Probate lawyers can charge anywhere between a few hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the services they provide to an estate.

A probate attorney’s fee will ultimately depend on the tasks they have to perform. The cost of hiring a probate attorney for a consultation on a legal issue will likely be a few hundred dollars. Despite this, the final price will likely be thousands of dollars if the probate attorney agrees to handle the estate’s probate proceedings.

Many factors influence the cost of probate, so you shouldn’t need to wonder if the lawyer charges you a different amount.


How to Ask a Probate Lawyer a Question

It would help to ask a probate lawyer a few screening questions before hiring them. You should know as much about the person you choose as possible since no one likes surprises midway through the working relationship. The person you hire should fit the bill.


Do you have any experience handling similar cases?”

You must ask your lawyer about their experience level before hiring them. When dealing with a complex case, choose someone who can articulate any problematic issue that might arise in the future. Trusted guidance is essential throughout the process.


When do you predict the court will settle the case?”

The entire process may take a long time, so knowing how long you must wait is essential. As long as everything goes according to plan, your lawyer can always provide you with an estimate of this. If the probate lawyer charges an hourly rate for their services, knowing the length of the case is equally important.


When did you start practicing probate law and estate planning?

Hiring an attorney with long-term experience is the best way to ensure everything goes as per the law. An attorney with long-term expertise will also assist you with navigating the entire process quickly.


Is there any other area of law you practice?

If you are choosing a probate lawyer, ask whether they also practice other types of law. Depending on your attention to detail and the case’s complexity, you should always look for someone who specializes exclusively in probate cases. As a result, the probate process will be successful due to their experience.


Have you ever practiced in this court?

Getting someone who knows the court judge’s style is essential as well. Judges are famous for handling cases in different ways. You should hire someone who knows how each judge handles cases.


How much do you charge?

A probate lawyer should also tell you what they charge. Of course, the fee should be affordable and within your budget. It would help if you decided whether a flat fee or an hourly fee is appropriate.

We can help you save a great deal of money by assisting you in preparing your legal documents rather than paying an expensive attorney. Visit our blog for more information about the probate process.


Probate Lawyers Offer Many Benefits

In particular, probate can be challenging if the deceased has a large estate. An executor or administrator must file a final account of all their activities concerning the estate after the probate process ends.

The details include all assets received and bills paid. It is crucial to have a reliable record of the gains and losses on sales and how the remaining funds will go.

Having a lawyer review these documents provides additional protection for the executor or administrator. If the executor or administrator does not consult a lawyer, any errors in these documents are solely their responsibility. When dealing with complicated cases, a good probate lawyer may consult an outside accounting firm to ensure all accounting carries out correctly.

Probate lawyers provide impartiality when handling an estate. A loved one’s death can be very emotional for those close to them. In a dispute, a probate lawyer can offer a balanced and unbiased opinion when others are experiencing heightened feelings.


Bottom Line

What Is a Probate Lawyer? By working with a lawyer, you can better manage sensitive issues during this challenging time, such as dispute assessment.

It would help if you considered your level of comfort with probate, the complexity of your state laws, and the size and scope of the estate when deciding whether to hire a probate attorney.

The probate court has some horror stories. However, if you’re adequately protected, you can avoid those circumstances. Luckily, our team is here to assist you with any estate planning concerns.

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