Legal Guide

7 Benefits of Hiring a Probate Lawyer

One question that comes into the mind of most people when settling a decedent’s estate is—do I need a probate lawyer? Well, you don’t need one at all. However, certain circumstances will demand a person to hire a probate lawyer.

When a person is deceased, their will must be discussed to make sure that their final wishes are respected. This process can become complicated, thus demanding the need for a probate lawyer. So, if you are in the middle of a probate process, you should know that hiring a probate attorney comes with numerous benefits.

Below we list the top 7 benefits of hiring a probate lawyer.

Professional assistance

All attorneys can handle a probate case. However, it’s only the attorney who specializes in probate cases that can provide the probate assistance that you require. One thing with probate lawyers is that they don’t handle criminal cases, negotiate personal injury claims, or deal with any other form of legal proceeding.

Probate lawyers deal with trust and probate cases only. They have a better understanding of probate court proceedings, rules, forms, court officials, as well as any complications that might arise from a probate case. Since these attorneys handle probate cases regularly, it means that they’ve seen different versions of probate cases. Therefore, they can easily identify the critical issues to your probate case.

You don’t have to pay upfront fees

When you hire a probate lawyer, you don’t need to pay them a retainer, or any other form of legal fees to get your probate case started. Eventually, the attorney will get paid for their services—but after the case has been settled. Typically, the court approves probate legal fees, and the legal fees come from the proceeds of the property. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about things related to money such as setting a budget for your attorney.

Probate attorneys assist in finding and securing all the decedent’s assets

Depending on the scope and size of the decedent’s assets, a probate attorney plays a key role in assisting an administrator or executor to find and secure the assets connected to the estate. This can be a big challenge, especially if the deceased had many bank accounts or real estate investments spread across the nation or the world. Adding other forms of investments like stocks and bonds to the case can make the probate process a bit complicated.

Moreover, if the deceased didn’t write any will before their death, there is a possibility that several individuals will start laying claims to the estate, or certain assets left behind by the deceased. Thus, it is important for all the property to be located and secured to make sure that there’s an equal and fair distribution of the decedent’s estate. Professional attorneys are experts in handling these matters.

Probate lawyers reduce reduced stress on the beneficiaries

By hastening the probate process, shortening the time that the executor needs to dedicate to the case, and also settling any disputes professionally helps in minimizing the stress that the beneficiaries might have to go through—especially since emotions are high during this period.

Mostly, you will realize that disputes can arise between families when we bring money into the equation. Besides, if the executor starts acting on their own best interest without putting the heirs into consideration, or starts acting as if they cannot handle the estate competently, it can lead to interpersonal issues with the heirs. Thus, hiring a probate attorney brings in a third party between the heirs and the executor. As a result, the executor can now concentrate on spending their time and resources with the family.

Preparation and filing of court documents

Any probate court process involves a lot of document preparations and filing. Whether it’s a list of assets and the estimated value, those expected to benefit from the assets, or a list of any outstanding debts and those they are owed to. This information is required when settling a probate case.  

Probate lawyer shares that in case someone challenges the will, the administrator or executor will need a lawyer to prepare and file different motions opposing the challenge. Besides, every document filed in a probate court has a deadline. If you fail to file particular documents within the deadline, you risk delaying the settlement of the probate process—and the case can drag on for years.

However, having a professional probate lawyer will ensure that all the necessary documents are prepared and filed within the set deadline.

Paying decedent’s debts and unpaid bills

When a person passes away, there is a possibility that they leave behind several unpaid debts. These can be medical bills, mortgages, credit card debts, or other bills. Such debts and bills will need to be settled—and the money for their payment comes from the decedent’s assets.

However, since probate cases take some time before they are settled, the decedent’s family will need to come into an agreement with the debtors. Although you might be able to make such arrangements as a beneficiary, having a professional probate lawyer do this on your behalf makes the process much easier.

Besides, since the attorney will negotiate the payment arrangements with the debtors, you will have the much needed time to concentrate on the probate case and get the funds needed to settle the debts and bills.

A professional probate lawyer minimizes any chances for a potential dispute

Hiring a probate attorney will make sure that the probate case is handled quickly, efficiently, and professionally. This, in turn, reduces the possibilities for any disputes, which can be time consuming and expensive.

If the probate process is handled unprofessionally, you will realize that debtors will start getting involved with the case—which is not right at all. At times, all the interested parties will request to have a supervised administration. Or even, the heirs might find themselves in the middle of a messy and costly lawsuit. But, having a probate attorney by your side will make sure that all disputes are resolved early in advance—which makes the probate process less costly for the parties involved.

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