While probate can be avoided, most people end up going through the process from start to finish with lots of heartaches and headaches resulting from the prolonged nature of the situation. If you are either planning to go through the probate process or not, you need to be proactive enough by consulting with a probate lawyer because earlier consultation can save you a lot of stress and untold chaos. This comprises all parties involved in an estate planning such as the executor (personal representative) and the beneficiary.
Who Is A Probate Lawyer?
In the legal firm, a lot of terms are used to describe a probate lawyer. He or she is a probate lawyer, an estate attorney or an estate lawyer. Using any of these terms is quite acceptable. He or she is a lawyer that falls into the category of state (licensed) attorneys, and who has the experience gathered from continuous legal education, several years of mentoring as well as years of personal experience with clients in advising executors (personal representatives) and designated beneficiaries of any estate in matters relating to the final settlement of estate affairs put in place by the estate owner who is now diseased (decedent).
Some Functions Of An Estate Probate Lawyer
If you are an executor or a beneficiary, you will need a probate lawyer to take you through the general process of probate from the inception to the conclusion of it. The steps to be taken by the parties involved in this process depend largely on the state the decedent resided at the point of death or where the estate plan took place. Your lawyer, going by his or her years of knowledge acquisition and experience will be able to guide you aright.
Apart from the state in which the decedent resided in before his death, another factor that will determine the steps to be taken by the parties involved is testate and intestate. If the decedent died leaving a valid testament /last will (testate) or if he or she didn’t die without a valid testament /last will (intestate), the process will be affected either ways. This can cause variation in the steps involving the probate process and the lawyer needs to have broad knowledge of the state’s law where he or she has been licensed to practice his or her career.
He or she is charged with the responsibility of advising the estate’s beneficiary on both legal as well as other related matters put forward by the executor to the beneficiary in the course of the entire process. What leads to this type of advice is when the beneficiary has unresolved issues with the executor like having a misunderstanding or because he or she (beneficiary) doesn’t know the executor.
Some estate probate lawyers also represent both executors and beneficiaries when they are separately involved in a lawsuit concerning the estate of the decedent. This happens when the will left by the decedent is challenged in the court.
In sum, as representatives of estate executor, an estate probate lawyer will assist him to locate as well as secure all assets (probate and non probate), prepare and file all documents needed by the court, address issues relating to income tax, help to sell any estate property among others.