What is a Probate Lawyer?
Explaining What is a Probate Lawyer
When someone passes on, there is a formal legal process associated with the transfer of a deceased individual’s assets. This formal legal process is known as probate. Each state typically has their own set of unique probate laws that stipulate what must be done with a deceased individual’s assets, including an adherence to the directives set forth in the deceased individual’s trust and/or Last Will and Testament. Probate lawyers specialize in this legal process and provide assistance to the individual, or individuals, assigned to be executor of the deceased individual’s Last Will and Testament. Probate lawyers can also assist in coordinating and communicating with the beneficiaries of an estate.
Explaining what is a probate attorney and what responsibilities they have during the probate process is extremely important to ensure all parties are on the same page and understand what is going to happen to a deceased individual’s assets.
Can Anyone Assume the Role of a Probate Attorney for the Purposes of Distributing the Assets of a Deceased Individual?
No, it is not possible to simply designate someone as a probate lawyer similar to the way someone can be designated the executor or executrix of an estate. Probate lawyers are licensed by a Bar Association in the state in which you reside and focus on working with executors and beneficiaries of an estate to settle the affairs of a deceased individual.
Responsibilities of Probate Lawyers
Probate attorneys handle a myriad of important tasks and legal issues associated with the distribution of estate assets. For example, probate lawyers can assist executors and beneficiaries with the following tasks:
· Filing the necessary paperwork to collect life insurance proceeds
· Address any income tax issues
· Identify and secure estate assets
· Assist in the payment of any outstanding bills and debts left by the deceased individual
· Preparing and filing necessary documents with a probate court
· Determining if any estate or inheritance taxes are due, and making sure those debts are satisfied
How Long is the Probate Process?
The short answer to the question of how long the probate process will take is anywhere between two months and two years. States have a minimal time for probate based on several factors, but the estate often takes much longer. The average also varies by state, but it can be anywhere from a little less than a year to a little more than a year. When probate is required, heirs and beneficiaries do not have to wait for probate to conclude before they can access their inheritance. Instead, they may be able to get an inheritance cash advance and use the money immediately. For more specifics, see our blog post on the topic here.
What Exactly is a Probate Court?
If someone is asking “what is a probate attorney?” they will likely ask a follow-up question “what is a probate court?” Well, a probate court is part of the court system that handles the distribution of estate assets and property in the wake of someone’s passing. A probate court is tasked with ensuring the terms of a Last Will and Testament are followed. In addition, if a deceased individual failed to write a will before they passed on, the probate court will adhere to the rules of the state as to the disposition of the estate.
Is It Possible to Avoid the Probate Process?
Yes, it is possible to circumvent the probate process, especially if you are concerned about having your loved one’s assets listed and detailed in public court records. In order to avoid the probate process altogether, the decedent’s assets need to be placed in a trust and properly titled. If this is done properly, a trust can help ensure a smooth, and private, transfer of your loved one’s property outside of the standard probate process where a court would need to be involved.
Looking for a Skilled and Knowledgeable Probate Attorney? Contact Codi M. Dada
If you recently lost a loved one and are looking for guidance to get through the probate process, take action and contact Codi M. Dada. He is skilled and knowledgeable probate lawyer who possesses a deep understanding of the complexities inherent in the probate process. Request a consultation with Codi M. Dada today.