What’s a Probate Lawyer (And Do You Need One)?

A probate lawyer can be a necessity if executing an estate is going to get complicated. Learn more about how to spot such a need before trouble actually hits.

It is important to have a will no matter what age you might be, yet almost half of older Americans don’t have one.

When those individuals die, there is suddenly a burden placed on the surviving family members. The lack of planning for the future puts the estate in probate.

A probate lawyer is a useful resource to have if you are a beneficiary of such an estate when a loved one passes away.

Continue reading to learn what a probate lawyer is and why you might need one during probate.

What is a Probate Lawyer?

Before you can understand what a probate lawyer is, you need to know what probate is. Probate is the process that real estate goes through before it’s distributed to the beneficiaries when the estate owner dies.

The laws and guidelines for probate vary state-to-state. Check out the specific probate laws for your state for more information.

There are a few different types of probate.

In most cases, an informal version of probate is used. This usually happens when the beneficiaries agree with the way assets are divided AND there are no issues with any debt settlements. It involves a lot of paperwork, but no formal court rulings. 

When problems occur, the probate case will go to court.

For a more in-depth look, check out this step-by-step guide to the probate process.

A probate lawyer makes sure that the beneficiaries, creditors, and taxes are being handled properly. They handle any debt wrapped up in the estate and make sure the right taxes get paid. They make sure that the right person acquires the right assets in the end.

Do I Need a Probate Lawyer?

If you find yourself in a situation where it makes sense to have one, you should hire a probate lawyer

You might need a probate lawyer during the probate process if:

  • There is no executor of estates named in the will
  • There are no beneficiaries for the estate listed in the will
  • There is a problem with the will in general
  • There are debts that need settling through the estate

It’s always better to be well prepared for any complication that might arise from the unveiling of the will. 

When there is a surviving spouse involved in the estate after the owner passes away, there is usually no need for probate. In most cases, the estate goes directly to them.

Yet, children or other living relatives may have to go through the probate process to verify that they are the proper beneficiary.

A probate lawyer can simplify the process and help the executor handle anything that comes up as a result of probate.

What’s Your Next Step?

If you’ve recently had a death in the family and you are a beneficiary in the will, you might soon be going through the probate process. Your next step might be to hire a probate lawyer to make this transition go smoother for everyone involved. 

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