As a state-licensed lawyer, a probate attorney is responsible for all the legal proceedings concerning the disbursement of the assets and possession following the owner’s demise. However, this is a pretty complex process as the beneficiaries, or the will’s executor, need to be guided throughout the probate process, from the estate’s assets identification to recognition of the beneficiaries and the correct distribution of assets according to the will of the decedent. All these are taken care of by a probate lawyer. Moreover, the involvement of Cherry Hill NJ Probate Lawyers depends on several factors. Read through to know more about them.
The primary role of a probate lawyer is to assist and guide the beneficiary during the process of probate, which might include several tasks.
Validation of the will: While it seems like a step forward, validation of a will has several processes in it. For a will to be valid, it must be in written format. To avoid confusion, wills are better accepted if they are handwritten. Further, the will owner must sign the will with the date beneath for it to be valid. Also, according to laws concerning wills, there should be signatures of witnesses that are accountable. A probate lawyer sees to it that all of these criteria get satisfied before getting on with further procedures.
Settlement of dues and taxes: A probate lawyer checks if there are dues and taxes to be paid. The role of a probate lawyer becomes huge if the death of the owner is untimely. In that case, there are several checks to do before distributing the will.
Collection of information: Probate lawyers need to have all the information handy to make the process seamless. They might have to get details about the property and issues related to it if any. In case of multiple receivers, the probate lawyer should learn the will owner’s wishes to distribute the property accordingly. Also, there are cases where properties might have issues related to location and neighborhood. In these cases, a probate lawyer should tend to such problems and solve them before proceeding.
Appraisal of properties: Assets need an appraisal. A probate lawyer knows and understands the processes to estimate the value of the owner’s properties. They take tangible assets into consideration and calculate the entire value of all equipment, lands, and other properties.
Settlement of other issues: Apart from tax and debt payment issues, there can be other issues related to property distribution. Improper wills can lead to such issues. A probate lawyer checks for other issues related to property distribution and resolves them. Also, they can help prepare final court documents and proceedings.
Distribution of assets to beneficiaries: Once the above procedures are over, a probate lawyer helps in the seamless distribution of properties according to the will. They understand how the owner wishes the properties to be distributed among the beneficiaries. Renaming the properties becomes the next crucial step. With a probate lawyer, renaming and claiming become seamless.
The responsibility of a probate lawyer, or more precisely, whether one needs a probate lawyer, depends on several factors that need prior consideration. Such factors include the nature of the Estate plan set up by the decedent, the nature of the federal law, the estate size, the disputable beneficiary-decedent relationship, and the complications involved in the asset designation, among many more.
If, as a beneficiary, one is only left with a Will, then probate is a necessity. While on the other hand, if the decedent had developed a well-planned Trust that only includes a few complications, then there’s no need to consult a probate attorney. But if the estate is big enough, contacting an experienced attorney is recommended, as one might need legal expertise to handle it.
Sometimes, the beneficiary might not find the matter complex and ignore consultation with a probate lawyer. However, they understand the need to have a lawyer when they can’t seem to handle the pressures of the process. Therefore seeking assistance from the first and ensuring clarity of the Will or the Trust is crucial.