The properties of a deceased person are often distributed to heirs and beneficiaries named in the deceased last will. However, the probate court will determine the validity of the will and preserve the properties of the deceased. Also, the court ensures that any unpaid debt of the deceased is settled from the assets before the properties are shared among the heirs. If the deceased or decedent did not leave a will, the probate court determines the legal heirs. Thus, a probate is a legal process that determines the validity of a will.
A probate attorney is a licensed lawyer who is trained and experienced in counseling the administrator or executor and the heirs of an estate on how to distribute the assets of the decedent. The executor, also known as personal representative refers to an individual or entity in charge of handling a deceased person’s estate. The executor is often named in the decedent’s last will or testament. An administrator is the personal representative when a will does not exist.
Usually, an administrator is a family member or the closest relative of the deceased. Also, a beneficiary refers to a person (maybe the heir) or an organization such as charity who receives the benefit of an estate, pension account or any other asset of the decedent. Thus, a probate attorney or an estate lawyer advises and supports the administrator throughout the probate process. The lawyer ensures that the dictates of the will, if valid, and the probate laws are strictly adhered to.
The lawyer can also represent minors and beneficiaries or heirs that are mentally incapacitated during the distribution of properties. The service of an estate lawyer is required if the deceased’s will is challenged by the heirs.
An executor is a trusted person appointed by a will as the legal personal representative of a decedent’s estate. The executor is responsible for settling the personal affairs of the testator, following his or her death. The executor determines whether the estate should be probated by estimating the total value of the deceased’s assets. “Small” estate as defined by the probate laws are not probated. Also, he pays off any debt owed by the deceased and protects the assets during the period of estate administration. However, the main responsibility of an executor is to distribute the deceased estate.
Responsibilities Of An Estate Probate Lawyer
- The estate lawyer ensures that the executor or administrator adheres to the probate laws and supervises the administration of the estate. This prevents the personal representative from incurring any personal liability during the period the estate is probated.
- It is the responsibility of the estate probate lawyer to file the death certificate and the will of the deceased with the probation court.
- He or she ensures that the creditors of the testators are notified of the death and intimates them on the probate process.
- Above all, the estate lawyer ensures that the rights of the creditors and the beneficiaries are respected and guides the executor on the distribution of the properties.