Do I Need a Probate Lawyer?

When a loved one passes, a variety of issues typically arise. One question may be whether or not you need to retain the services of a probate lawyer. In considering the necessity of retaining a probate attorney, a number of factors should be considered.

Executor of an Estate

If you have been named the executor of an estate, your immediate response may be to retain legal counsel. In many cases, retaining legal assistance is a wise course when you have been appointed to oversee and address the affairs of an estate.

An executor is a person named in a last will and testament to ensure that the wishes of the deceased individual are carried out. The executor generally is required to ensure that valid debts of the estate are paid, that any taxes due and owing are satisfied, and to distribute the assets of the estate as directed in the last will and testament.

Unless the estate qualifies for a simplified probate process, or can bypass the formal probate process altogether, the executor will need to become involved with the probate court. Probate court procedures, and associated laws, are some of the most complex in the U.S. legal system. Thus, if a particular estate will be involved in probate court proceedings, an executor needs to consider the importance of engaging experienced legal assistance from a probate attorney.

Disputes Regarding an Estate

In a surprising number of cases, heirs or legatees of an estate can end up at odds with one another. If family members, and others, with an association to the estate are not getting along, or are involved in disputes associated with the estate, the involvement of a probate lawyer usually is a wise course to take.

There are a number of different ways in which a probate attorney can be of invaluable assistance in this type of situation. First, the representative of the estate itself, the executor if there is a will, or the administrator if there is no will, is best served by having an attorney assist in addressing or dealing with disputes. Second, an individual with a legal connection to the estate may also need a probate lawyer to make sure that his or her rights and interests are protected through the probate and estate settlement process.

Tax Issues

In some cases, an estate faces some complicated tax issues. One of the goals in settling an estate is minimizing the amount of money paid out in estate and inheritance taxes.

As an aside, tax issues can best be addressed in a proactive manner. A person with more substantial assets is wise to engage in comprehensive estate planning during life in order to minimize tax consequences upon his or her death.

Retaining a probate attorney can be a crucial step to ensure that tax issues are properly addressed. Indeed, the costs associated with an attorney likely will be offset by money saved in avoiding the payment of unnecessary amounts of money in estate or inheritance taxes.

Retain a Probate Lawyer

No matter the specific circumstances, the first step in retaining a probate attorney is scheduling an initial consultation. Through an initial consultation between attorney and prospective client, a probate lawyer Roseville CA trusts has the chance to evaluate the matters at issue with a particular estate. In addition, the individual seeking legal representation is able to ask questions of an experienced probate attorney. As a general rule, a probate attorney does not charge a fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client.

Yee Law GroupThanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into probate practice.