How A Probate Attorney Helps
Probate attorney is a state licensed lawyer who understands law aspects enough to advice estate executors and beneficiaries on settling final affairs of a deceased person. The lawyer is also referred to as an estate attorney and is responsible for handling personal representatives throughout the probate process until everything is smoothed out. He will take the representative through trusts, wills and estate planning among many other things.
A probate attorney usually has years of continuous legal education, experience and mentoring. They are all important in making sure that he performs his duties beyond expectations. The probate process and requirements can depend on the deceased’s state and the probate laws governing it. The probate laws will apply depending on where the deceased lived and died and where he owned estates. A valid testament of the last will can also determine how the process is done. However, in case of an intestate which is a state where the deceased had no valid testament of will, it is still possible for a probate attorney to handle it.
The attorney can come in handy when issues regarding the decedent’s testament, will or estate arise amongst the beneficiaries. Apart from advising the personal representative, this attorney can be hired by the estate beneficiary in case disagreements arise between the personal representative and the beneficiary. He can assist in contesting a will but in such circumstances, he will be known as the trust and estate litigator, probate litigator or estate litigator.
Services to Personal Representative
A probate lawyer is in a position to advise the personal representative through different things during the probate process. They include the following.
- Obtaining the appraisals and values of the date of death regarding the property of the deceased.
- Securing and locating probate assets as well as non-probate assets.
- Preparing and filing relevant documents needed by the probate court in an organized, timely manner.
- Offering advice on the payment of final bills of the decedent as well as payment of any debts that are outstanding.
- Collecting any life insurance proceeds payable to the beneficiary.
- Holding proper elections and rolling over any retirement plans and keeping track of the checking account of the estate.
- Assisting with the sale of any estate property and addressing any income tax issues there could be.
- Determining inheritance or estate taxes due at state and federal levels and figuring out where the needed cash for settlement will be generated from.
- Settling any disputes there could be between beneficiaries and personal representatives.
- Getting court permission to handle and take different actions applicable to the state probate laws and re-titling the real estates to the beneficiary names in situations where selling of the property is not taking place.
- The probate attorney also assists in the distribution of assets left by the decedent after taxes and bills have been paid.
Left property or estate can be the source of long term fights amongst beneficiaries. Personal representatives need the assistance of probate lawyers to ensure that everything is handled right after the death of an estate owner.
A qualified probate attorney in California can greatly help in making the probate process smooth for the personal representative and the beneficiaries too. There is just so much that your attorney can handle on your behalf.
Jeremiah Raxter, Esq – California Probate Attorney