Charlotte Probate Attorneys
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An estate dispute or a will contest can divide a previously close-knit family. Maybe the deceased did not have a will or a family member has decided to contest the will or trust in court. Many estate administration issues can throw a family into turmoil, and this while they are still grieving a loved one.
Estate administration can be complicated, stressful, and time-consuming, even where there are no disputes.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process that occurs after a person dies and by which the court oversees or supervises the distribution of the decedent’s estate to their heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors. Ideally, probate refers to two distinct processes or phases, the first of which involves proving the validity of the deceased person’s will. During this phase, anyone who is contesting the will raises the issue with the probate court.
Once the court accepts the will as valid, the process moves to a second phase where the will goes into probate. The second phase involves identifying and taking inventory of the estate’s property, petitioning for alimony and child support, paying debts, and distributing the remaining property to heirs and beneficiaries.
For anyone going through the probate process for the first time, it can be difficult and confusing, especially as it happens right after a loved one’s death.
What Does a Probate Court Attorney Do?
A probate court attorney’s primary role is to assist the executor (where there is a will) or the estate administrator (where there is no will) in managing the complex probate process.
The probate court lawyer also performs various administrative tasks as part of their role, including preparing and filing the probate petition. The lawyer may notify creditors and review with their claims, as well as the other parties to probate, including heirs and beneficiaries. Other duties include inventorying the decedent’s assets for the court and interested parties.
Why You Need a Probate Court Attorney
A knowledgeable probate attorney can simplify the complex and emotional process of managing probate. Probate is complicated and time-consuming and you may make costly mistakes if you approach the process without expert guidance. Some of the reasons why you need a probate court attorney include:
Probate is Complicated.
Without legal training and knowledge of local probate procedures, it is easy to make mistakes, including failing to give proper notice for a probate hearing while preparing a petition. You may also make mistakes when handling probate issues such as estate taxes and paying debts. A probate court attorney will help you get it right and avoid making mistakes that might either further complicate estate administration or make the process take longer than it should.
State and Local Laws.
In addition to the complications associated with your various legal duties as an executor, estate administrator or beneficiary, you need to be familiar with the laws that govern probate and estate administration in your state. Probate laws vary between states, and the decedent may have owned property in different states. A probate attorney will help you navigate complex state laws when you have to deal with multiple jurisdictions.
Will contests can tear a family apart. Probate administration often takes place while the family is still in mourning and related court disputes can be emotionally draining. Additionally, court can be expensive and legal fees could chip away at the estate’s value. Probate attorneys can help you and your family avoid unnecessary and expensive court disputes.