Probate is defined as the process in which a deceased person’s property and final wishes are dealt with by an assigned executor as per the directions of the will, or through any other legal means.
As an executor, it might be quite challenging for you to deal with the grief of losing a loved one while also having to handle probate duties. Having a qualified and experienced head, in the form of a probate attorney, to guide you through the process would be much appreciated during this trying time.
Read on to learn the main reasons why you need a probate attorney to help you through the probate process.
Answer Any Legal Questions
The first and most important reason for you to hire a probate attorney is to have everyone’s legal questions answered by a knowledgeable professional.
The probate process involves a variety of participants who may each have their own understanding of how the process should be handled. An attorney can help bring everyone on the same page by making clarifications where necessary; saving everyone from unnecessary bickering in the process.
Protect the Will Against Legal Suits
Although most wills are executed without any disputes, it’s important to note that there is always a chance that a legal suit against the will, and its directions, may be contested in a court of law by surviving relatives and/or creditors.
As the executor, it is upon you to ensure that the will is executed to the letter; you can use the services of a probate attorney to defend the will against any, and all, legal claims against it in a court of law.
Depending on the specifics of the will and the state you live in, the probate process might call for a variety of complicated legal processes. A qualified and experienced probate attorney will have in depth knowledge of such processes; and how to go about them to ensure the swift settlement of the same, owning to their familiarity of the same.
With an attorney on your side, you can forget about having to deal with the technical legal stuff required throughout the probate process.
Estates that are subject to federal or state estate taxes require a lot of specialized technical and legal input with regard to how the taxes are to be dealt with. The value of the estate will decide whether it is subject to any of these taxes. A probate attorney can advise you on the existing guidelines as far as federal and state estate taxes go.
This will help you settle tax matters with the Internal Revenue Service, IRS, and state taxes authorities as required by law.
Las but not least, as an executor you may be sued by aggrieved beneficiaries or any other parties who stand to gain or lose substantial sums depending on the outcome of the probate process. This is especially common in processes where the estate value is not enough to cover all existing debts or satisfy all vested interests.
Hiring a probate attorney who advises you on the best way to implement the directions of the will without exposing yourself to unnecessary legal liability will definitely help you avoid such situations. Their input will also help you focus on completing the work at hand, without fear or favor.
It is true that you can handle your probate duties on your own without the help of a probate attorney; but as you can see from the above, having one in your corner will definitely make the process run much smoother. Most importantly, you can ensure that the will of the deceased is implemented to the letter; and with it, rest knowing that you were able to implement the deceased person’s wishes to the best of your ability.