What exactly does a probate attorney do? Quite a bit, actually. You might think that a probate attorney would simply be someone who prepares death certificates and keeps records. They are actually more complex than that, and they help people deal with the often complicated process of handling estate and trust issues.
A probate attorney is much more than an attorney, who prepares for death certificates. A probate attorney is well versed in estate law and is skilled at the entire probate process. They can walk you through it every step of the way and understand all of the subtle details that make the whole process run more smoothly.
The whole point of the estate planning and probate process is to leave your loved ones to handle their estate as best as possible. You may have given them vast resources – retirement funds, retirement income, insurance plans, life insurance – but at the end of it all, they are still just one person, and that person – hopefully – is still alive. There should be no stress at all about what to do with these resources because it was all being done for them. With a probate attorney on your side, you can rest assured that everything will continue to run smoothly.
Another issue you may have is that of outstanding debts. These could include things like mortgage payments, tax debts, credit card debts, alimony or child support obligations. These must be paid, and there is often no way to pay them without selling your assets. Many people think that when they pass away, all of these debts become part of their estate and can be distributed to the beneficiaries. This is not the case, however, and having a probate attorney to handle the distribution will ensure that the debts are distributed properly and to the right people.
Other types of assets that can’t be distributed by normal means are those that are exempt from intestate, or that aren’t deeded in the first place. Some examples include the bank accounts of former spouses, as well as real property held by the trust account of one of the deceased’s parents. The last issue that must be mentioned is the fact that of special needs. It might be that a disabled person who receives money for medical treatment needs to have that money immediately; otherwise, that person will lose it forever. This is where a probate attorney can play an important role.
You should consult with a probate attorney before making any decisions regarding the distribution of your deceased party’s assets. If you think you don’t have any choices, consult a probate lawyer, and you may be surprised at what he has to say. Most often, they can make things much clearer than you can. Also, when you’re dealing with something as important as estate planning, it’s best to keep things as civil as possible. That way, the outcome is less problematic, and you can focus on enjoying your remaining days.