The loss of a friend or family member is one of the most painful circumstances to experience. But what happens with your assets after you’re gone? A probate attorney specializes in helping the surviving family members settle your estate, with or without a will, so that you can rest knowing your family is taken care of after you are gone.
What is a Probate Attorney?
Also known as estate or trust lawyers, probate attorneys are state-licensed lawyers who help manage the probate process. Their scope of work typically entails inventorying your assets, drafting wills or living trusts, fulfilling any debts your estate may incur, and distributing your assets.
Regardless of which probate attorney you decide to move forward with, you should feel comfortable knowing that your estate is in good hands. Together, you will build a plan around your needs and goals.
How Can a Probate Attorney Help Me?
Probate attorneys can help to settle an estate. If there is not already a will in place, they can facilitate creating one. A will is not required to hire a probate lawyer.
A probate attorney can play multiple roles. For instance, they can represent the beneficiary or the estate itself. They are qualified to prepare and file court documents and determine inheritance taxes, property appraisals, and much more.
Above all, if you have a will in place, the attorney will ensure your assets and estate are distributed based on your wishes. If there is no will in place, the estate is “intestate.” This means your estate will be distributed according to intestacy laws, regardless of what your wishes are.
Questions to Ask a Probate Attorney
It’s essential to ask your probate attorney any questions you have about the process. This process can be an overwhelming experience, and they are there to help you feel confident that your family’s future will be secure after you are gone. Here are a few questions to ask your probate attorney:
- Will the attorney be handling your case themselves? Some attorneys work on a team, and they are only a piece of the puzzle.
- Do they specialize in probate law? Some attorneys have experience in various areas of law. Find out if they specialize in probate law to ensure you get the best results possible.
- Have they handled similar cases? Every case is unique, and some can be more complex than others. Knowledge is power, and you’ll need to know if your attorney has the ability to handle your case.
- What are the fees? Some attorneys bill hourly, while others bill a flat rate or percentage of the overall estate value.
Finally, no probate case is the same; they can differ even in the slightest ways. As a result, it is important to seek a credible probate attorney specializing in probate law. If you or someone you care about is in need of a probate attorney, contact me today to schedule a consultation at (903) 944-7800.