When a loved one dies, they usually leave behind a lot of memories for us to cherish. They also leave behind their estate, including cash, bank accounts, properties, and other assets they possess. If you have to deal with the probate process and are clueless on how to do it, then it is time to seek assistance from a probate attorney.
What is Probate?
According to a top South California probate attorney, probate is a complicated and frequently stressful legal process to distribute the estate left behind by a loved one. It requires a clear understanding of legal regulations, multiple court appearances, preparing and filling out detailed forms, and serving notices to heirs and the local newspapers.
Why Hire a Probate Attorney?
You may be wondering if it is possible to go through the probate process without hiring a probate attorney, and the answer is yes. There are situations where the help of a probate attorney is not necessary, but for someone without any legal competency about estates, it can be frustrating and may feel like a legal nightmare.
The probate process is time-consuming and may last from 8 to 12 months. If you make any mistakes in the forms or incorrectly filed some paperwork, it will further delay the proceedings. It is ideal to seek the help of a professional probate lawyer to handle the affairs of the estate.
Situations Where Probate Lawyers are Necessary
As mentioned above, the help of a probate attorney may not be necessary, depending on the situation. The general rule of thumb is that if the estate is not particularly large, it doesn’t need the expertise of a probate lawyer. Another situation where probate lawyers are not necessary is if there are no threats or contests on the will.
On the other hand, there are many situations where probate attorneys are necessary. Here are some of them:
- If the decedent did not make a will
- If the decedent made a will
- If there are problems or issues with the existing will
- To transfer ownership of the decedent’s properties to the heirs if solely owned by the decedent.
- Probate disputes
- Financial disputes, unfinished contracts, and debts
- If the estate is left to a minor who needs guardianship
Benefits of Hiring a Probate Attorney
Here are some of the advantages of hiring a probate attorney:
1. The probate process will finish faster with the help of a probate lawyer.
The whole probate process can be delayed by years if there are errors in the preparation and filling out of the forms. The executor should give proper notice to all the parties involved, obtain signatures of heirs, and to creditors if there are any.
2. A probate attorney will lessen the possibility of disputes.
If done by a probate professional, the possibility of disputes, whether from the family or debtors, is greatly diminished.
3. Hiring a probate attorney will relieve some stress from the family.
The bereaved family will have more time to focus and deal with their loss rather than dedicating a lot of time to the probate process.
4. It will save time for the executor.
Learning the law and general court procedures, all the while generating inventories, reports, and accounting that the courts will accept, is just too hard to handle for an average person.
5. Probate attorney decreases the risk of personal liability for the executor.
Suppose you make any mistakes in generating reports, errors in paying the creditors and heirs, and failing to get court authority before taking any legal actions. In that case, you may be held liable for those mistakes.
Hiring a probate attorney could be the best thing you can do today. Consult a trusted probate attorney in California today to know your options.