In simplest terms, probate is the legal procedure an estate goes through after your death. During the legal proceeding, the court will begin distributing your property and belongings to the rightful heirs. A probate lawyer is a state-licensed attorney who works with the beneficiaries and estate executors to settle the deceased’s affairs.
Having a will and/or trust that clearly defines your wishes always makes the probate process easier on your loved ones. These documents name your beneficiaries (those who will receive portions of your estate). Also, an executor is assigned who is charged with overseeing your final wishes.
If you die without a will or trust, the process becomes more complicated. Without documentation stating your wishes, the courts step in to handle proceedings and make decisions for you. They will assign a personal representative to oversee your belongings’ distribution.
Choosing a Probate Lawyer to Set Up Your Estate
With a properly prepared estate plan with a probate lawyer, you can avoid probate for the following items:
- Those with beneficiaries named
- Items inside a living trust
- Assets that are payable or transferable on death
- Jointly titled property (with survivor’s rights)
Probate lawyers work with clients to minimize the stress and pressure your loved ones will feel after your death. The following are several documents your probate lawyer can set up for you during estate planning:
- Living trust
- Power of Attorney
As experts, they can also offer advice about giving away assets before death, titling property jointly, and much more.
A Probate Lawyers Responsibilities After Client Death
After death, a probate lawyer performs several duties to ensure a client’s wishes are followed:
- Prepare paperwork for Letters of Administration or Letters of Testamentary
- Publish a death notice to creditors
- Get an appraisal of the asset inventory
- Administer and sell property from the estate
- Pay remaining bills, claims, taxes, and expenses from the estate
- Retitle estate property
- Prepare settlement documents
- Distribute belongings and assets as stated in the will or trust
Reasons for Avoiding Probate
Without a will or estate plan, probate can take a long time. And your estate will pay the cost, which can vary depending on the length of time and other administrative expenses. Furthermore, probate processes are public, not private, putting undue pressure on your loved ones.
Contact Bolinger Law Firm for Your Free Consultation
It’s never too early to prepare for the future. At Bolinger Law Firm, we are experienced probate attorneys who know the ins and outs of estate planning. If you need legal guidance, contact us today for a free consultation. You can also reach us at 636-386-8322.