The loss of someone you love can be one of the most challenging experiences to face in the journey of life. Following a loss of life, in some cases a legal process called probate must be carried out by legal heirs – In some cases, the probate process can be complex and confusing.
When the time comes, families seek legal assistance from a lawyer that specializes in handling estate-related processes, which includes probate. An experienced probate lawyer will be able to advise you and your family on the best course of action to take for your unique situation.
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process that may refer to either the process of reviewing a will of a person to determine authenticity or administration of the will of a deceased person or the estate of a deceased person without a will.
Testator – the individual who makes the will
Executor of Will – A person appointed to administer the last will and testament of a deceased person is called an executor. The executor is responsible for carrying out the deceased’s wishes, including managing the deceased’s affairs. The executor is appointed either by the testator of the will or by a court, in cases with no prior executor appointment.
What is the role of a Probate Lawyer?
A probate lawyer is a licensed attorney who helps settle the affairs of the decedent. A lawyer who deals with probate is also known as an estate lawyer, and will perform different tasks depending on the particular circumstances of the estate.
The probate lawyer will work closely with the hiers and the executors to outline the best course of action and will help with a variety of administrative and legal processes such as:
- Transfer the assets to the appropriate beneficiaries in the name of the deceased.
- Collect income from life insurance policies.
- Manage legacy checking accounts.
- Solve income tax issues.
- Obtain a valuation of the deceased’s real estate.
- Prepare and submit all documents required by the probate court.
- Determine if any estate taxes or estate taxes are due and make sure these debts are met.
Following death, an executor can choose to seek legal assistance from a probate lawyer to help ensure assets are dispersed in a manner consistent with state laws and following the directions as stated in the will of the deceased.=