Some people leave property, money, and other valuables to family and friends. While others have more specific requests. Depending on your age, you may need to choose legal guardians for your children in your will.
Find an estate planning and probate attorney that specializes in your type of estate planning. Some lawyers are highly skilled in handling large sums of money or real estate. If you own a family home or business, this type of estate planning and probate lawyer is best.
Most people believe that probate is inevitable following the death of a loved one. But this isn’t always the case.
When you meet with a probate attorney for the first time, it can be tempting to jump right in and begin talking about the estate. Before you go too deep into things, however, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the probate process.
This is an important question to ask because many attorneys who handle probate also handle other areas of law. Depending on the nature of your case, you may want to work with a lawyer whose primary focus is probate. In this case, you may decide right then and there that you want to hire a different attorney for your case.
Probate is the legal distribution and transfer of assets following someone’s death. And is often used when a person owns property or real estate only listed in their name.
Even if their will leaves the property to a family member, legal steps are required to carry out this inheritance. Probate is common when handling large, complex estates that include property, large sums of money, or multiple assets.
If your loved one created a simple will leaving mostly possessions to family and friends, probate may not be necessary. Avoiding probate means the following:
- The ability to keep the proceedings private and out of the court system
- Less legal fees and taxes
- A more speedy and less complex settlement of the will
- A reputable attorney will advise you on whether or not the will in question needs to be probated.
When building an estate plan, you may have a variety of concerns, including the following:
- Maintaining an orderly administration of assets while you are living
- Managing estate assets flexibly while you are living
- Reviewing estates involving tenants in common or community property
- Considering assets in multiple states
- Examining small business assets
- Naming your children’s legal guardian
- Ensuring that your heirs and loved ones receive your assets
- Helping to reduce or avoid conflicts and confusion
- Minimizing legal expenses and taxes
- Assessing wealth preservation
- It’s important to have a solid estate plan in place to ensure that your loved ones receive your assets without a hassle or undue delay after your death.
- There are many questions you should ask prospective estate-planning attorneys before hiring one to craft your estate plan.
- Above all, make sure you hire an attorney who demonstrates a high-touch level of service, and with whom you feel comfortable discussing personal matters.
You may have multiple types of wills, trusts, and life insurance plans and comprehensive estate plans can include all of these. So it’s important that your estate attorney is knowledgeable in these areas. You might want your estate attorney to help you understand the nuances of each estate-planning tool and discern the ones that might be right for you.
Many estate-planning attorneys charge flat fees, instead of billing by the hour. Some do both, where they charge a fixed rate for standard services like establishing a trust, then charge an hourly rate for special research tasks. In any case, it’s wise to inquire about compensation models ahead of time to avoid surprises.
While there is generally no extreme rush, bear in mind that you may wish to discuss aspects of your estate plan with other professionals, such as accountants, retirement planners, or money managers. While an estate attorney’s expertise may overlap with these fields, they may not be a general tax expert or investment advisor.
Even if you’re working with an experienced estate-planning attorney, it’s essential to review all documents and forms to avoid any miscommunication. Be clear about what can be changed later, and what is irrevocable.
Trust your instinct to determine if a particular estate-planning attorney is right for you. Estate planning can be complex, both emotionally and legally, so it’s imperative to choose an attorney who can deftly handle all of its elements.
It’s incredibly difficult for someone without a thorough working knowledge of the law to probate an estate. This results in surviving loved ones having to go through extra stress as they try to navigate the legal process. Many times, these people need time to grieve and take care of other responsibilities, not worry about probating.
That’s where a probate lawyer comes in. These lawyers have knowledge of probate law. Working with them takes away the guesswork and potential for errors, and makes the whole process much faster.
Probate lawyers don’t need to be paid by the person who hires them – they’ll be paid from the estate. Still not sure if a probate lawyer is right for you? Call us for free consultation.
Tensions can arise when people disagree on the best way to approach probate issues. However, a lawyer gets rid of this potential conflict and offers clarity for any questions family members might have. This also reduces the chances that someone will be accused of not properly handling the estate.
Probating can be a lengthy process – it often takes over a year. Probating an estate never happens faster than about three or four months. No one can instantly access property, assets, or investments, but having a probate lawyer will make the process much faster.