Grieving the death of a loved one is an incredibly difficult process. This is only made worse when faced with the bureaucratic realities that come soon after. Ideally, the deceased person will have had a comprehensive will drafted by an attorney prior to their death, stating the intended division of their estate. However, even professionally written wills are not always enough to guarantee the fair distribution of funds and assets.
Probate is a legal process whereby a person’s will is proven valid or invalid. Only once this process is complete can the late individual’s holdings be released. While the assigned executor of a will is not legally obligated to hire a probate lawyer, there are many reasons why this may be necessary for a smooth, successful process.
After a loss, many families are burdened with differing ideas on how their loved one’s estate should be divided. When emotions and financial security are involved, it is not easy to predict how one’s spouse, children, and other beneficiaries may react. In many cases, one party feels deserving of a larger portion of the estate than what has been allocated to them. This can cause serious arguments between family members, and turn into strenuous legal battles. A probate lawyer can be incredibly useful in situations like these, as they offer an unbiased, outside perspective and a pragmatic approach. This helps circumvent personal disputes, allowing loved ones to support each other throughout the grieving process.
Promptly release funds
The executor of a will is tasked with many duties that involve critical timelines. Many of these deadlines must be met in order to remain in compliance with the law, and distribute funds to beneficiaries in a timely manner. This complex process is full of technicalities that are difficult to understand without a professional background in probate law. Hiring a reputable attorney is therefore the easiest way to ensure all deadlines are met, and funds are released as quickly as possible. After a loved one’s passing, closing bank accounts, obtaining a death certificate, and completing all of the necessary paperwork can prolong the grieving process. A probate lawyer can help make these mandatory processes as seamless as possible so that you and your family can obtain your inheritance and move forward.
If a lawyer is not involved in the probate process, beneficiaries run the risk of draining funds out of the estate. This is often the case when one or more parties decide to file a lawsuit, adding up to thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal fees. As previously mentioned, probate lawyers are well-versed in the time-sensitive legal proceedings that need to take place after a death. This translates not only to saved time, but the expertise of an attorney also gives clients the tools they need to avoid common expenses. For example, if the deceased individual owes a substantial amount of money to creditors, the executor will need to ensure these debt repayment agreements are honored in order to avoid wasting money on financial penalties. Similarly, if the spouse or other family members continue to reside in a home for which the mortgage was being paid by the late individual, expenses will need to be covered until the property is sold. A probate lawyer can help prepare executors for these financial considerations, ultimately saving them money.