Most people don’t even hear about a probate lawyer till a wicked dispute arises in the disposition of property. A probate lawyer, also known as an estate lawyer or an estate attorney, advises executors and the beneficiaries of an estate on how to settle all of the final affairs of a deceased person.
You won’t need a Probate Lawyer if the deceased has left behind a will and it is not challenged. Additionally, if the estate in question qualifies as a small estate and the probate procedures in your state are relatively simple, you can handle probate on your own. But before that, you must gain knowledge about what is Probate.
Knowing what is probate
Probate is the process that takes place after a loved one passes away, regardless of whether or not there is a will. It involves distributing assets and taking care of any debts. A person’s final debts are settled, and property’s legal title is passed from the deceased to beneficiaries and heirs, under this legal process.
Small estates usually don’t require to undergo the probate process. However, the procedures differ from state to state, and you need to check what is applicable in your particular case.
Probate comes in when it becomes necessary for courts to oversee the distribution of the assets of the deceased person. The reasons could be a family dispute over the will or the absence of a will. The estate gets subjected to public scrutiny.
The person named in the will as executor comes forward with the will, and the process is initiated in the county of the decedent’s legal residence at the time of death. In the absence of a will, an administrator is mutually appointed within the family, or the court appoints a neutral administrator in case of dispute.
The probate process usually involves steps such as collection and appraisal of all assets subject to probate, Paying the bills, taxes, estate expenses, and creditors of the decedent, and formal transfer of the property.
Knowing about probate without a will
It is advisable to take legal help from an experience Probate Lawyer to go through the process of probate without a will. If the estate is large and there is a dispute on its distribution, you surely need a Probate Lawyer.
It is always better to go through probate in the absence of a will. When a person dies without leaving a will, it is called dying intestate. State-wise “intestate succession” laws are in place. They are the guidelines on how property and other assets will be distributed.
The Probate Court oversees the probate process. If you wish to serve as an administrator, you have to file a petition in probate court. But before that, you need to:
- Review the assets, establish a value to the estate and produce an itemized list of property needing distribution.
- Determine the county to file probate proceedings. It is the county, where the deceased person lived or owned a home.
- Submit a certified copy of the death certificate in court and request forms to Petition for Letters of Administration.
- Inform everyone that you are petitioning for probate. Publish in a local newspaper or other forms designed to inform people, send notices to family members. This process also serves as notice to all creditors to file claims.
The court will grant your petition unless another more suitable representative comes forward. If you find these tasks complicated, you should seek guidance from an experienced Probate Lawyer. LawTally helps you connect with the best suited Probate Lawyer in your area.