How an Attorney can Help with the Probate Process
When a family member passes away, it can be a logistical nightmare on top of being an emotional roller coaster. The last thing you want to worry about in addition to the grief is navigating the probate process. Dealing with the court system and lengthy legal procedures is confusing and often overwhelming. This is why retaining a St. Petersburg probate & trust administration attorney is so important. Here are several ways that a probate attorney can help you.
Determining Whether Probate Needs to Be Open
It is sometimes difficult to determine whether a probate is even necessary. A probate isn’t required when the estate is under a certain value (a summary administration may be applicable here), assets are held in joint accounts, or assets have a payable on death designation or transfer of death beneficiary.
Determine Who Should be the Personal Representative
Naming the executor of a will, or the personal representative, should be done in someone’s will. This individual will be required to maintain a fiduciary duty to the estate’s beneficiaries. If the decedent doesn’t name a Personal Representative in the will, there needs to be a more in-depth look at who should serve in that role. An attorney will be able to help you determine who to name in your will. If a family member has passed away without naming a Personal Representative, a probate attorney can still help to appoint a personal representative in order to file the proper paperwork with the court and open a new probate.
Help Locate Assets
One of the biggest responsibilities a personal representative has is to make an accounting of all of the assets. In many cases, this can be a straightforward process, but sometimes it can take additional work to track them all down, especially if there are assets in multiple states or countries.
Helping Reduce Conflict with Families
It’s fairly common for families to struggle with conflict after a loved one passes away. An attorney can be extremely helpful in diffusing some of these situations and ensure all applicable laws are followed. A decedent’s personal representative is the one who commonly retains an attorney, but there are situations where the beneficiaries may hire an attorney to look into whether or not the personal representative is honoring their fiduciary duty, or they may be challenging the will for a number of reasons.
Handle Issues with Creditors
Dealing with creditors is one of the hardest parts of a Florida probate. It’s not easy for people to figure out how to pay creditors, ascertaining what order they should be paid in, and where to get the money to cover the estate’s debts.
Contact a Tampa Bay Probate Attorney Today
Retaining a probate attorney can really help ease the stress of dealing with the loss of a loved one and then having to deal with a probate on top of things. Probate is not an easy process, especially if there are a lot of assets to be located and valued. Contact Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP today to schedule an initial consultation.