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You May Need an Attorney and Not Even Know It

People take legal matters into their own hands every day, and sometimes they lose money and property in the process. You can make a legally binding contract without using an attorney, but you are risking missing some big legal loopholes and laws you may not be familiar with that can not only make your contract invalid but can actually cost you in the end. When you are selling or purchasing real estate, tackling the creation of a will or even just loaning money to a friend, a consultation with an attorney can be a positive step. I'll show you when and why you need an attorney.



You May Need an Attorney and Not Even Know It

Will You Need A Probate Lawyer?

by Barry Butler

Lawyers practicing this particular area of the law deal with wills and the court process known as probate. They may also advise people and help them create wills that are legal, enforceable, and fair. To find out more about what to expect from a probate law attorney and why their services are so important, read on.

File the Will

All states require that an estate (of a certain size) be probated. The will should be read to all concerned and then filed in the county probate court where the deceased resided.

Public Notices

Many states require that a notice be published in a local paper for a set period of time alerting others to the filing of the will. This is meant to encourage those owed money by the deceased to come forward and make a claim upon the estate. Also, the appointment of the executor (or personal representative) and the final petition of the will may be published under public notices.

Guiding the Executors

Estates, once they are filed, require a bit more work, and the executor may be tasked with some of those duties. Executors will work closely with the probate lawyer to ensure that requests by the probate court are complied with. For instance, the lawyer will assist the executor in preparing and filing an estate inventory for the court.

When No Will Exists

Not having a will does not mean no probate nor does it mean you won't need a probate lawyer. Even when no will can be located, the probate court must still process the estate. Each state has laws of succession used to hand down estate property in a certain order. A probate lawyer can assist in making sure the estate is probated properly and fairly.

When Will Contests Emerge

Wills can be contested once they have been filed in probate court. However, it's important to understand that the probate lawyer supports the will as it was filed. If you or anyone else disagrees with any aspect of the will, a separate probate lawyer is needed to litigate the will.

Other Probate Duties

While the above covers some primary duties, there may be others:

  • Assisting beneficiaries with deeds, vehicle titles, insurance matters, etc.
  • Guiding the guardianship plans of minors after the death of a parent.
  • Advising on estate tax obligations.
  • Overseeing real estate sales and transfers.
  • Helping determine which estate bills should be paid and which should not.

To find out more, speak to a local probate attorney about a will that needs to be prepared or probated.