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4 Warning Signs You Need a Probate Lawyer

If you’ve recently lost someone close to you, then you may be on your way to sorting out the probate process. Are you concerned that you might need probate litigation? This can be a stressful time for a number of reasons, but especially if there’s any conflict over how a loved one’s belongings are distributed among beneficiaries. Sometimes there are disagreements even if the deceased left behind a will and other estate planning documents. If this is the case, it’s best to consult with an experienced probate lawyer.

Probate litigation can be emotionally and financially costly, so let’s first review some warning signs to give you a better sense for when it might be time to call a probate lawyer to represent you in settling the estate.

Do You Need Probate Litigation?

The need for probate litigation arises whenever there’s a disagreement about the probate process. Most often, this occurs when a surviving family member makes a claim or raises a dispute. A petition is filed and the court must address is.

Times When Probate Litigation is Necessary

1) A Contested Will

This is a common plot in films—the missing, contested, or forged will. If there are questions about the validity of any estate planning documents, litigation is likely inevitable in order to come to a resolution.

2) The Executor’s Responsibility

If it seems that the executor of the estate isn’t handling their role properly or providing enough transparency, this is a clear warning sign that should be explored further in more detail.

3) Spousal Elective Share

A spouse can’t be legally excluded from the estate unless there was a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. In this case, the spouse has a legal right to claim a share of the estate. What exactly the spouse is entitled to depends on the rules of that state. There is generally a time limit on these claims, though.

4) No Estate Planning Documents

If there isn’t a will, the need for probate litigation becomes much more likely. That’s why it’s so important to have your estate planning documents in order, long before you ever need them, and also to keep them updated. In the absence of a will, family conflict is more common. This is especially true when people are grieving because emotions are running high and it’s harder to think clearly.

Livermore Probate Litigation

If you have any lingering concerns about the probate process, or think you might need probate litigation, contact Lewman Law at 925.447.1250. John Lewman is a distinguished Livermore attorney. Learn more about his background by clicking this link.

Filed under Legal Services, Probate Tips

Why Choose Lewman Law For Your Estate Planning?

It’s always important to have your affairs in order, but more people have been thinking about their estate planning needs this last year due to the pandemic. And with so many options, how do you choose the right Livermore and Pleasanton estate planning attorney to manage these sensitive documents? If you need estate planning services in the Bay Area, read on to learn more about what Lewman Law has to offer.

Education

John Lewman is the founder of Lewman Law, APC. He first studied economics before going on to complete his legal training at the McGeorge School of Law, located in the state’s capital. He passed the bar in 1994, the same year he graduated. Since then, he has distinguished himself as a dedicated and compassionate attorney.

Mission

John’s mission at Lewman Law is to safeguard your family as if it were his own. With over twenty years of professional legal experience, both in and out of the court room, John has the know-how you need to provide the best possible care.

Our Services

At Lewman Law, we offer probate and trust administration, estate planning, will disputes and trust litigation, as well as help with Medi-Cal qualifications. You can take a more in-depth look at our services by clicking here.

Whether you’re wondering what should be included in your will, or the best trust to set up for your children, Lewman Law is here for you. These are some of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, so you need a skilled attorney who can guide you through the process—from start to finish. Or, maybe you already have an estate plan, but it hasn’t been updated in a while. We can take care of that, too.

Pleasanton Estate Planning Attorney

For a Pleasanton estate planning attorney who can handle all of your estate planning and probate needs, contact Lewman Law. Office hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. We’re happy to answer any questions you have. Call today at (925) 447-1250, or email by clicking this link.

Filed under Legal Services, Uncategorized

5 Facts About a Living Will For Medical Emergencies

You may already have a will set up for the end of your life, but have you considered you may need a living will? Living wills are legal documents that specify what to do in the event that you are seriously injured or sick and become unable to make decisions for yourself. These documents are sometimes referred to as an advance healthcare directive. Here are five key facts to understand how they work.

Naming Someone to Act on Your Behalf

You can use your living will to designate another person to make important decisions for you. Most people choose a spouse or another trusted family member. It’s also possible to designate a healthcare agent to make decisions about your medical treatments if you become unable to do so. Some people opt to give this person broader power of attorney to make any legal decisions on their behalf.

The Details of Your Healthcare

In your living will, you can specify various details regarding your healthcare treatment. For example, many people choose to add specific directives regarding pain management.

Talk to Your Doctor

You should always discuss your living will with your doctor. When your physician is aware of your arrangement ahead of time, he or she can make better decisions about your care in a medical emergency.

It’s Not Written in Stone

You can always change the information provided in your living will. However, you will need to make sure that you legally revoke the previous document in order for the new draft to be effective. Remember, it’s important to review your documents to make any relevant updates. Changes depend on your life circumstances.

Who Needs a Living Will?

Anyone can benefit from a living will. Many people think they’re too young to need one, but the unfortunate reality is that a medical emergency can strike at any time. It’s simply the best way to ensure your treatment preferences are honored.

Your Living Will

Although it’s unpleasant to think about medical emergencies, it’s important to prepare for anything so your family won’t be left to make difficult emotional decisions under pressure.

If you’re interested in setting up a living will in the Bay Area, contact Lewman Law at (925) 447-1250. We can help you protect your family.

Filed under Legal Services

What to Consider When Hiring a Probate Attorney

When someone close to you passes away, it’s not necessary to stay with the original attorney who created their will. You may decide to find a new attorney to finalize the legal process. Here are 3 things to consider when hiring a probate attorney.

Credentials: Do Some Digging

When you need a good attorney, it’s time to do some digging. Obviously, you want to hire an attorney with a solid background in probate cases, but also consider whether they have experience in other areas that may be relevant to your situation, like real property law.

You can search online to get a sense for a lawyer’s education and expertise, including law school and years in practice, as well as other biographical details. You may find articles written by the attorney, in addition to former client reviews. Client reviews are especially useful when hiring a probate attorney. Also, the State Bar Association has a website that can tell you if the attorney you’re considering is reputable.  

Scheduling Availability

A good attorney is certain to be busy, but if it’s a struggle to schedule an appointment, or receive timely responses, it’s best to take your business elsewhere. Another thing to pay attention to is how well the attorney listens, and whether or not they’re responsive to your concerns.

Communication

Choose an attorney who takes the time to explain things clearly. It’s important that you fully understand the legal process in order to make the best decisions. A good attorney will respect your efforts to educate yourself, and clarify things that confuse you. When hiring a probate attorney, jot down a list of questions so you don’t forget anything you wanted to ask.

It’s important that you’re comfortable with the attorney you hire. These points should help you with the screening process. Contact us at Lewman Law to find out if we’re the right fit for you.

Filed under Legal Services, Probate Tips