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.
Have you been named the executor of an estate after a loved one passed? If so, know that going through probate law issues can be difficult if you've never done it before. Here are some things that you should do to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Learn About The Probate Process
Probate is not something that you want to go into blindly and learn as you go. It is worth taking the time to do research about the process so that you have realistic expectations about what will happen. While a probate lawyer will help guide you through the process, it's important to have a general understanding about what is happening.
Discuss The Potential Outcome With The Heirs
It's important to keep all the heirs of the estate in the loop about the potential outcome of what will happen. Keeping heirs in the dark is only going to lead to problems, since they have the ability to challenge the estate during the probate process, which slows things down and adds onto the overall cost.
For example, if the estate had a lot of debt that needs to be paid off, you should let people know that you may have to sell property to take care of those debts. Letting heirs know what you expect their inheritance to be when all things are wrapped up can help prepare them for the outcome.
Maintain Accurate Records
There is a lot of accounting that needs to be done during probate. Know that the heirs may want to review your accounting at any time, and having it all ready to go will help prevent someone from challenging the probate process. You should be very diligent about recording all asset deposits and withdrawals, and be specific about why assets were withdrawn.
Open Separate Accounts For The Estate
Even if you do have accurate accounting, you will need to keep the funds for the estate separate from your personal account. This will only be problematic in the end, since a separate account is recommended to more easily keep track of money going in and out of the estate.
Avoid Paying Out An Inheritance Too Early
Is there an heir that is asking to be paid out early? Know that this is a big mistake, since you may not have settled all the debt that the estate owns prior to paying their inheritance. Make sure that all debts have been paid before you distribute funds to prevent people getting more than what they are supposed to inherit.Share