Have you been left with the responsibility to execute the estate of a deceased person?
As an executor of an estate, you’ll be responsible for distributing assets to the appropriate parties. Aside from that, you must use money from the estate to pay for things like debts and taxes. Because of this, the probate process can take a lot of time.
If you’ve never been an executor, you most likely won’t know how the probate process works. Fortunately, you can hire a probate lawyer to help you throughout the entire process. They’ll provide a variety of services that make distributing assets easier for you.
“When do I need a probate lawyer?” Read on to find out.
You’re Unsure Whether Probate is Necessary
One of the main reasons to hire a probate lawyer is if you’re unsure of whether probate is necessary after a loved one has passed. If assets can be transferred outside of probate, you can avoid the entire process. However, determining which assets can be transferred like this can be difficult.
The most common assets that are transferred without probate are joint assets. For example, if your loved one owned a house with their partner, their partner can receive the home without having to go through probate.
If you want a better understanding of what to do with the assets, you can contact an estate lawyer to guide you.
You Want a Streamlined Probate
Streamlining the probate process is crucial if you don’t want to spend a lot of time distributing assets. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of how to speed up the process. When hiring a probate lawyer, you can find out if your state offers small estate procedures.
Small estate procedures take place outside of the courtroom and can be done by making sworn statements. The only problem is that many states have different procedures, so it’s best to work with a lawyer to ensure everything is done correctly.
Family Members Aren’t Getting Along
If someone doesn’t agree with the will or the executor of the estate, they may file a lawsuit. Not only will this delay the distribution process, but it could cost you a lot of money if you don’t have a lawyer.
When hiring a lawyer, you can avoid court battles because they’ll negotiate with the person that has a problem. If an agreement can’t be reached, a probate lawyer will ensure that the estate is protected throughout the lawsuit process.
You Don’t Understand the Probate Process
If you become the executor of an estate but don’t know how probate works, you should immediately hire a lawyer. Distributing assets to the wrong people or doing incorrect procedures can cause you to run into legal problems if someone realizes what you’re doing.
A probate attorney will tell you what to do so that nothing is done incorrectly. They’ll also tell you what alternative options are available so that the process is simpler for you.
You Must Manage a Variety of Assets
Certain assets can be difficult to manage, such as real estate and businesses. While common assets can be distributed by using simple processes, you’ll need to go through different steps when managing a variety of assets. Hiring an estate probate lawyer will ensure that you get guidance on how to manage several things.
When it comes to managing a business, you may need to sell or appraise it. These involve a variety of steps that can be too difficult to do while you’re trying to manage other assets. Fortunately, a probate lawyer can take care of most things so that you can focus on common assets.
There Isn’t Enough Money to Pay Debts
One of the problems that many people run into is not having enough money in the estate to pay debts. If an estate has enough money to pay legitimate debts while also providing money to beneficiaries, you won’t need to worry about anything. However, if you don’t have enough, you must prioritize certain debts.
Some of the debts to focus on are things like income taxes, funeral costs, etc. Keep in mind that you should never start paying things off unless you work with a probate lawyer. They’ll tell you which debts are crucial because you may be able to avoid some.
You Don’t Know If the Estate Owes Tax
While many estates aren’t required to pay taxes, some do. Similar to paying debts, you should seek a lawyer as soon as possible to figure out whether you’ll need to use money from the estate to cover taxes. Something like federal estate tax is rare, but many estates must pay state estate taxes.
When working with a probate attorney, you can quickly find out if you’ll be required to file an estate tax return. All you must do is search online for, ‘”probate lawyer near me.” From there, you can reach out to someone and explain your situation.
Hire a Probate Lawyer Today
Now that you have a better understanding of what probate lawyers do and how they can help, you should hire one as soon as possible. Anyone responsible for distributing assets should work with one if they’d like to avoid running into problems in the future.
Start by looking online for various lawyers. You’ll want to compare several so that you can find someone that suits your needs. After reaching out to different lawyers, you can determine which one would be the best for you.
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