People often associate probate law with contested wills and trusts. Although that's a good reason to hire a probate lawyer, there are other reasons to do so. You may wonder if a case is simple enough that you won't need counsel. Let's examine four reasons why a probate law attorney is just as useful in a simple case.
When you discuss a matter with a probate judge or a court-appointed officer, they're likely to ask you to file significant amounts of paperwork. Some of this can seem pretty basic, such as submitting a death certificate for the estate's grantor and providing proof of a will.
However, this is a case where you need to do the simple things well so you don't have to do the bigger things often. If you're submitting copies of the will, for example, it's important to document when it was signed and that it represents the last and most faithful version. That's almost always a boring job, but it can get exciting if you mess it up and then someone objects.
Similarly, you may want to submit your own filings. Perhaps you're a surviving grandchild who wasn't included in the will. However, your parent on the grantor's side passed since the will was last updated. You'll have to prove you're a rightful heir to your parent's claim on the estate based on their beneficiary status.
Answering Court Questions
Judges are generally very patient people when it comes to working with those who don't have counsel. However, a lack of counsel slows the process down because the judge has to explain everything. If you have a probate lawyer present, they can address the court's questions faster than you can. Also, your attorney is far more likely to avoid misunderstandings or mistakes.
Settling the Estate's Affairs
Folks tend to think of probate as involving beneficiaries, executors, and the court. It's easy to forget about the creditors and tax agencies. Don't worry, though. They'll probably remind the court if they have a claim on the estate. The estate must retire all legit tax and debt claims before distributing assets to beneficiaries. If that leaves the estate short on distributions to beneficiaries, the court will order adjustments.
Successorship and Administration
Settling these matters is the job of an executor. However, an executor might be unavailable. A well-written will should name at least one executor. In the absence of an executor or successor, though, the court will appoint an administrator to execute the will.
When you are faced with a serious legal matter, it only makes sense to work with an attorney who has the skillset to help. Attorneys are specially trained to manage everything from courtroom appearances to issues with paperwork, which is why you should have one on hand for when you are faced with an emergency. The purpose of this blog is to make it easier to understand when you should call a lawyer and how they can help. Read more on this blog to sort out everything you need to know to improve your legal prowess every single day, preventing problems.