Probate is a legal process to transfer the assets of a deceased person to the legal heirs. It involves the organization of the total assets, collecting the proceeds from insurance companies, paying debts owed by the deceased to the creditors, and the complete transfer and distribution of the estate to the legal heirs. The laws of every state provide the modus operandi to regulate the process and the laws of one state may vary from another state. The process of probate is very expensive, complex, and lengthy that may take months and in some cases years to finalize. Therefore, it is essential to take the assistance of a probate attorney to manage the process of probate and to navigate through the complex process.
A probate attorney is also known as an estate or trust lawyer. They guide the executor or person in charge of the estate throughout the process and manage the entire legal process of probate. It is significant to hire a probate lawyer in both testate and intestate cases. In the former case, the deceased may nominate any representative to execute the will, and the probate lawyer works with the executor. Similarly, if anyone challenges the validity of the will on the grounds of undue influence or any other valid grounds, the probate attorney will handle the case to determine the validity of the will. Similarly, in intestate cases, the family members may appoint any representative to work with the probate lawyer and manage the legal process. In the testate cases, the estate is distributed according to the wishes of the deceased as mentioned in the will. Whereas, in interstate cases, the estate is distributed according to the laws of the state.
A probate lawyer is responsible for the following duties;
- A probate lawyer collects all the assets of the deceased including moveable property such as jewelry, arts, watches, etc., immovable property in the form of real estate, proceeds from insurance companies, and the proceeds from other investment plans.
- A probate lawyer organizes all the assets of the deceased in the probate account.
- A probate lawyer settles the claims of the debt owed by the deceased and satisfies all the debts of the deceased before the distribution of the estate.
- A probate lawyer manages the tax issues due on the estate.
- A probate lawyer prepares legal documents for the transfer of the estate property to the appropriate beneficiaries.
- A probate lawyer ensures the fair distribution of the estate among the legal heirs and ensures the compliance of laws at every step of the process.
- A probate lawyer provides legal advice and assistance to the person in charge of the estate throughout the process of probate.
In case a loved one nominates a person as an executioner to execute the will or any person died intestate, it is highly recommended to take the assistance of a probate lawyer to navigate through the complex and lengthy process of probate. Similarly, it is essential to take the assistance of an attorney working within the jurisdiction of your state to guide you through the process, in accordance with the laws of the state.