Before distributing an estate to its inheritors, one must go through the process of probate: a legal proceeding in which a will is proven valid and the corresponding assets are identified. Probate is required for most high-value assets, such as real estate.
Executors who have to administer an estate often find the process extremely overwhelming and tense. Depending on the situation, you may face accusations from family members or other hurdles, like debt claims. They may even end up being personally liable if they do not handle this incorrectly.
If you’re the executor of an estate, and the thought of probate has you feeling frazzled, know that hiring a probate attorney can help smooth out the process. This will make it much easier for executors and grieving relatives.
9 Reasons You Need An Estate Probate Attorney
Listed below are ten of the most compelling reasons why individuals should hire a probate attorney.
#1. Save money in the long run
It is true that hiring a probate lawyer comes at an additional cost. However, these costs are negligible when compared to the costs associated with a failed administration.
As an executor, if a lawsuit progresses over time, you may be required to pay substantial lawyer’s fees, which may increase over time.
#2. Gain access to the estate sooner
The probate process may last up to 24 months, which can be highly frustrating for a family waiting for an inheritance. However, if the right steps are taken, probate may be completed in under 12 months – as short as three to four months. Estate probate attorneys who specialize in the field can help you by taking care of everything quickly and avoiding mistakes that eat up time and money.
#3. Avoid Legal Claims against the Estate
It is common for people to file claims against an estate in probate cases.
A typical example of this is when someone feels they should have been named in the will and isn’t and feels that they have been treated unfairly.
A probate attorney will make it clear to these members that the trusted individual involved does not have any personal interests in the situation. As a result, the number of claims against the estate can be significantly reduced, which is one of the main reasons why probate can take so long.
#4. Avoid Rejection of the Estate
An estate can be rejected by the probate court if there is a mistake on the executor’s part, which would be the worst-case scenario. If this happens, the entire process will have to be restarted from scratch.
Having a competent probate lawyer to assist you will ensure that you don’t miss anything and prevent the estate from being rejected due to formalities.
#5. Resolve all debts
Often, when an individual passes away, they will still have a number of unpaid debts that their estate will have to pay off as soon as possible. Taking care of these debts is one of your responsibilities as the executor of the will.
As you can imagine, this can be a very time-consuming process. Among the numerous debts that need to be paid off are cash loans, outstanding bills, funeral costs, and taxes, to name just a few.
Hiring a probate lawyer will help you avoid overpaying, underpaying, or overlooking key financial details. They can also help you notify creditors and obtain death certificates or legal documents.
It can be particularly difficult to deal with debts and expenses after losing a loved one. Having a probate attorney on your side will ensure that you receive expert advice and peace of mind.
#6. Avoid family conflicts
Conflicts within the family are the most common reason for regretting not hiring a probate lawyer.
There is often tension and disagreement involved in the probate process. Sometimes the reasons are justified too because the executor failed to communicate or failed to manage the estate well.
A fight, however, can slow down the process or cause significant pain for the family.
A probate attorney can prevent unnecessary conflicts between family members by acting as a mediator. They will ensure that the executor is not handling the estate incorrectly by working with them and guiding them throughout the process.
Additionally, they can make any part of the process clear to other family members, avoiding one-on-one arguments.
#7. They ensure you check every box
In some cases, probate documents can exceed 50 pages in length. Meaning there can be a lot of complications involved. A single missed application or document could end up wasting months of diligent work and effort.
However, if you hire a probate lawyer, you can avoid all of these problems. It is their responsibility to make sure that notice is sent to anyone who might be interested in the estate.
They will be in close contact with you every step of the way. They are qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable professionals who will leave no stone unturned to ensure that you get exactly what you are looking for.
#8. You won’t miss a deadline
Everyone thinks they are aware of all deadlines until they aren’t. The consequences can be severe if you fail to meet the probate application deadline (or fail to meet it).
However, an attorney has probably handled hundreds of probates. They are familiar with all deadlines, from informing creditors to filing probate court documents, which avoids delays and helps speed up the probate process.
#9. Their resources are valuable
It is wise to hire a probate attorney who works for a law firm that has strong connections and resources.
If you’re having trouble navigating the probate process due to complications or delays, this can be a lifesaver.
For instance, an executor may have to hold funds for minor beneficiaries in a trust once a Grant of Probate is issued. While probate lawyers cannot act as accountants, in this case, they can refer you to qualified and experienced tax specialists.
Lastly, you will have more access to relevant information and documents if you hire a probate attorney who has a strong reputation in the local legal community.
No one should have to go through the process of estate administration alone. By hiring a probate lawyer, you’ll gain access to their wealth of experience and knowledge in the field.
This will save you time, money, and stress – allowing you the time to grieve the passing of your loved one.