Why Would You Need a Probate Attorney?

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“Why Would You Need a Probate Attorney? Do you need a probate attorney if you recently lost a loved one? If so, we’ll walk you through the probate process in this guide. Probate attorneys can help in many ways if you’re going through a probate process. In this guide, our law firm will walk you through what probate is and when a probate attorney would be necessary.”

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Why Would You Need a Probate Attorney?

About The Process of Probate.

The process of probate refers to settling estates after a death, a legal procedure based on a court process. During this process, assets from the deceased’s estate pass to beneficiaries.

  • Validating the last will and testament of the deceased
  • Create a representative, executor, or administrator for your estate
  • The assets of the estate are assessed
  • Estate taxes: Definition and payment
  • Identification of beneficiaries, heirs, and legal representatives
  • Beneficiary and their distribution


What Are The Duties Of A Probate Lawyer?

In the field of probate, a lawyer may have a wide range of duties based on previously agreed-upon priorities with the client. Often, estate settlement duties and probate procedures are among these duties.

Probate lawyers can help in some cases, the executor of the estate, represent a beneficiary who is considering litigation or act as the executor. A probate lawyer, however, will play a slightly different role depending on whether a deceased person left a will or died intestate, which is when they died without one.


The deceased’s will and death certificate.

A deceased person’s estate attorney tends to seek permission for probate in the county where the deceased lived first when the deceased left behind a will and the deceased’s family hires an estate lawyer.

In addition to an application, they will need the deceased’s will and death certificate. As soon as a probate lawyer accepts the grant of probate and validates the will, their duties may include:

  • Communication with creditors and payment of the estate
  • The transfer of title to property;
  • Helping the executor contact insurance companies and pension providers
  • The estate chequing accounts are responsible for overseeing all transactions.
  • Keep track of all financial and legal paperwork for government agencies.
  • The deceased’s estate return, if needed, payment of any taxes owing, and preparation of the final tax return for the deceased;
  • Assure that all assets in a trust held during the life of the deceased are distributed according to their wishes;
  • Close the estate through the court.


If there is no will,

If there is no will, the assets of a deceased person who died intestate are distributed according to state or provincial laws governing intestacy succession. With some key differences, a probate lawyer offers many of the same services and responsibilities as outlined above in this case:

There is no will in such cases, so a probate court appoints an estate administrator, assisted by a probate attorney, with the help of the death certificate and application for probate.

After the probate administration (gathering assets, paying debts, taxes, etc.) is complete, the remaining assets pass to heirs according to a specific inheritance hierarchy.

Probate attorneys can oversee this process to ensure the estate passes according to succession laws. The deceased’s wishes do not matter in this process.


Reasons for Need the Probate Lawyer.

It is common for people to ask: “Do I need a probate lawyer if I don’t have a will?” Yes, but there are many other reasons. Among the other scenarios are:

  • A will was not in place for the deceased person.
  • There is a dispute over the execution of the will or estate plan.
  • There was an issue with the title or ownership of the deceased’s assets.
  • A deceased person’s assets cannot transfer until their debts or taxes are paid.
  • Property ownership in more than one state or country was common among the deceased.


Why You Should Hire a Probate Attorney?

An experienced probate attorney can make probate’s stressful and slow task much easier for executors and surviving family members. In general, probating an estate is used to prove a will and determine heirs before the estate passes. Probate doesn’t always have to occur in the case of high-value assets, such as real estate.


Why You Should Hire a Probate Attorney?


The probate process can be a stressful and overwhelming experience for executors. Family members might make accusations, or debt claims may come up. If errors occur, you could face legal consequences.


Obtain Early Access To The Estate.

You may have to wait up to 24 months for the probate process to complete. A long and tedious process, probate can take up to a year if everything goes correctly. However, if everything goes correctly and efficiently, it may be possible to complete the process in three or four months.

Having a lawyer help you with the probate process will help you avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes and speed up the process.


Keep family conflicts to a minimum.

Conflicts between family members are the most common reason many regret not hiring a probate attorney. The probate process often involves some tensions and infighting. Sometimes there is a reason for it because the executor miscommunicated or handled the situation poorly.

However, fighting can slow the process or cause considerable pain to family members. Having a probate attorney will prevent family conflicts as the attorney will ensure the executor isn’t mishandling the estate, removing any sense of independence from the executor.

Also, they’ll be able to explain any aspect of the process to the other family members, avoiding one-on-one arguments with the executor.


Prevent legal claims against the estate.

Estate claims are common during probate. In many cases, this is to do with someone who feels cheated or does not appear in the will.

There should be a lawyer to ensure a trusted individual is involved who is not working for personal gain so the estate does not have to deal with claims against it, which is often the cause of probate delays.


Check All Boxes

In probate, there can be over 50 pages of documents. It must be complex. It is possible to overlook a single application or document and lose months of time and mental energy.

Probate attorneys, on the other hand, can avoid this problem. In addition to serving notice to anyone interested in the estate, they will explain each step of the process in great detail. They know exactly what to look for because of their professional training, expertise, and experience.


Refrain from rejecting the estate.

Probate courts can reject an estate in the worst-case scenario if there is a mistake. If this happens, the whole process has to start over. With the help of a probate lawyer, you will get everything and won’t have to worry about the estate getting rejected due to formalities.


Pay off all debts.

A person’s estate may still owe debts after they die, and you are responsible for paying these debts as an executor. Debts such as taxes, funeral costs, outstanding bills, loans, and funeral costs can take a long time to settle.

Hire a probate lawyer to avoid overpaying or underpaying for missing vital details about your estate. Also, you can obtain the necessary death certificate or legal documents and notify creditors of the death.

If you face debts and expenses after the death of a loved one, hiring a probate attorney can give you peace of mind with expert advice.


Executor support

Executors of estates have a lot on their plates, from reading wills to dealing with family conflicts, and keeping an eye on every legal aspect can be overwhelming.

Many executors tell us that hiring a probate lawyer is simply for peace of mind. Being alone can be overwhelming, and a lawyer can take much of the burden off your shoulders.


Spend less money

The costs of hiring a probate lawyer are, of course, additional. However, these costs are trivial compared to those associated with not administering the estate appropriately.

As an executor, any legal claims against the estate or yourself will require additional legal fees, which might be substantial if a lawsuit continues over time.


You’ll always have a deadline.

Many executors think they know all the deadlines once they don’t. For example, you can get into trouble if you fail to realize (or meet) the deadline for submitting a probate application.

As the probate process has gone through hundreds of times, a probate attorney knows all the deadlines, including notification of creditors and applications to the probate court, ensuring speedy and uninterrupted execution.


They Possess Valuable Resources

Probate lawyers may work for firms with financial resources, connections, and resources, which can be a game-changer for those facing complex or lengthy probate proceedings.

In some cases, an Executor must place funds in a trust for minor beneficiaries upon receiving a Grant of Probate.

You can work with an experienced and reputable tax accountant or tax specialist through a probate lawyer, but they cannot act as accountants themselves.

The last advantage of hiring a reputable probate attorney is that they will have a good reputation in the local legal community, allowing them to access helpful information and documents faster than you could.


What Is The Fee For A Probate Lawyer?

The cost of a probate lawyer depends on many factors, such as the estate’s size and complexity. The cost of a lawyer depends on how large and complex the estate is, as well as whether the firm is big or small.

In most cases, probate attorneys charge a fixed, flat fee for the entire probate process, or they charge an hourly rate. They can charge anywhere between $150 and $400 if they charge an hourly fee. You’re likely to find higher prices in a large city, while in a small town or rural area, you’ll find lower prices.

Several states allow lawyers to bill on a percentage basis, including California. According to California law, lawyers may bill as follows:

  • An estate tax of 4% on the first $100,000;
  • A 3% share of the next $100,000;
  • 2% of the next $800,000.

To decide whether to use hourly rates or flat fees, you should determine what works best for your family and friends. Hourly rates ensure you only pay for the time you need. With a flat price, you will only spend some time you contact your lawyer with a question or need additional assistance.


Is a Probate Lawyer Necessary?

If an executor or administrator wants to help with probate, the probate court can provide much assistance. Before you hire an attorney, consider these questions:

  • Have you handled a probate matter?
  • Can the estate be distributed without probate?
  • How simple is the probate process in your state?
  • How well will family members get on?
  • Can the estate repay its debts using the money that it has?

You don’t have to hire a probate attorney immediately if you answer yes or some or all of these questions. You can always hire one later if a problem arises.


Can You Do Your Probate?

The executor can handle probate for most estates if they are straightforward. An estate plan that ensures assets decrease during the deceased’s lifetime by creating joint ownerships, living trusts, or gifting assets during the deceased’s lifetime is particularly effective.

A smaller estate would enable the executor to submit a small estate affidavit by keeping the estate’s value low and reducing the number of assets that would need to go through probate.

Nevertheless, it takes a lot of planning for the testator to do the probate yourself. It would be ideal if the executor and the testator worked together.

It is important to note that probate can be challenging and draining. Even if the estate is small and simple enough to handle independently. It is especially true if you are grieving and juggling legal and financial matters with your loved ones.

Fortunately, you do not have to do it by yourself, and you do not have to hire a lawyer if you don’t feel like your case requires one.


Bottom Line

Having a probate attorney in your family’s corner will give you peace of mind and ensure your affairs run correctly and efficiently. Our expert lawyers at Elder Law Services of California can assist you if you are looking for a probate attorney.

If we decide to work together, we will design a specific plan of action. That plan reflects your family’s needs and wishes regarding probate. We look forward to working with you.

Hedy Ghavidel

HEDY GHAVIDEL Managing Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  info@attorneysre.com Bio...

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