You can’t take it with you when you die, as the old saying goes. An estate probate attorney Stuart can help your surviving relatives settle your debts and divide your assets once you’re gone. What is a probate attorney?
What is a Probate Attorney?
Generally speaking, probate lawyers, also called estate or trust lawyers, help estate plans such as the drafting and administration of wills or living trusts. Therefore, this article will focus on the work that a probate lawyer does.
When A Will is a Will
An estate probate attorney Stuart can be hired to assist parties such as executors or beneficiaries if a person dies without a will. An attorney can examine a will to make sure that it wasn’t drafted (or signed) under duress. For example, elderly people with dementia may be susceptible to undue influence from individuals who want a piece of the estate. Will challenges can occur for many reasons. However, most will pass probate without any problems.
When there is no will
Intestacy occurs when someone dies without a will. You will receive your estate according to the laws of intestacy in the state where it resides. Married couples have their spouse receive all their intestate property. But intestacy laws can vary from one state to the next.
An estate probate lawyer in Stuart can assist the administrator (similar to an executor) by distributing the assets in accordance with state law. While a probate attorney can help with certain tasks, they are bound to state intestacy laws. This applies regardless of the wishes of the decedent or the needs of family members.
To become the estate administrator, a relative must first obtain what is called renunciations from the deceased’s other relatives. A renunciation refers to a legal declaration that revokes one’s authority to manage the estate. An attorney who specializes in probate can assist with filing these statements with the probate court and then helping the administrator with the process of probate (managing the estate, determining estate taxes, and securing assets).
What is the role of a probate attorney?
Additionally, a probate attorney may be responsible for performing any of the following tasks when advising an executor/administrator:
- Management and collection of life insurance proceeds
- Appraising the property of the deceased
- Find and secure all assets of the deceased
- Advice on how to settle debt and pay bills for the deceased
- Prepare/file documents required by probate courts
- Manage the estate’s checkbook
- How to determine if estate taxes are due
What are the best times to hire a probate attorney?
While it is a good idea for a lawyer to help you with the probate process it is not necessary. The size of the estate will determine whether you need a lawyer.
Before you hire an estate probate attorney Stuart, consider the following questions:
- Is your state able to administer probate fairly easily?
- Are the members of the family able to get along?
- Are there enough funds in the estate to pay off debts?
- Which type of property is on the estate?
- Can the estate be distributed with no probate
What is the average cost of probate attorney?
The three most common methods that probate attorneys use to charge their clients are:
- Hourly rates apply
- Flat fees
- Payments are based on a percentage estate value
The number of fees charged will vary depending on the experience of the attorney and other factors such as where the attorney practices.
What is the difference between a probate and estate planning lawyer?
While probate and estate planning lawyers are generally in the same field of law, there are some differences.
Probate attorneys are usually responsible for the administration of an estate after someone dies. An estate planning attorney works with clients who are still living to determine how they should handle their estates. An attorney can help clients create trusts, wills, or other pertinent documents.
What questions should you ask a probate lawyer?
These are the questions to ask a lawyer if you’re considering hiring one for probate.
- Are they certified in probate law? Ask if they have dealt with a case similar to yours before.
- What is the lawyer’s intention to charge you?
- What is the intention of your lawyer?
- What’s the process in your case?
- Is the lawyer going to handle your case personally?
Talk to a Probate Attorney for help with the probate process
To assist you in the handling of the estate of someone who has died without a will, or if you were appointed executor of an estate, it’s a good idea to speak to a skilled probate attorney.