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Who Pays the Probate Lawyer?

It’s no secret that legal services can be costly, especially if long hours are racked up in court, so who pays the probate lawyer? If you’re looking for a Tracy probate lawyer, here are few tips to guide you when it comes to the bill. 

Payment Structures

Not all probate attorneys follow the same payment structure. This is something to keep in mind when you begin your search. Most people want a ballpark figure before they hire an attorney, though. Having no idea what the final price tag will come to is sure to induce anxiety during what may already be a stressful time. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most common payment structures that your Tracy probate lawyer is likely to use. This will help you select the best option for your situation. 

A Flat Fee

The flat fee is a popular billing method. If your attorney is experienced, they will have a detailed understanding of the process as well as how many hours of work they need to invest to see things through. If this is the case, your Tracy probate lawyer may charge a flat fee, meaning you pay a lump sum. 

Some attorneys prefer this payment structure because it means they don’t need to keep hourly records. Also, clients know exactly what they’re paying and don’t need to focus on the clock. Having said that, be sure to question what is included in a flat feet arrangement. It’s important to fully understand what it does and does not cover so you’re not stuck in a bind. Find out if it covers things like court filing costs or other miscellaneous fees. Similarly, what happens if your case goes to court? Does the payment structure change?

An Hourly Rate

Charging by the hour is common when it comes to legal services. But hourly rates will vary based on various factors. For instance, the state, the amount of experience a probate attorney has, as well as how urban or rural the setting is. As you might imagine, urban centers are more costly in every way. Bear in mind, though, that someone with years of experience may charge more, but it also means that they probably complete tasks more efficiently. If you’ve done something a hundred times, you’re much faster at it. 

A lawyer may also oversee paralegals who handle their standard forms, and pass off a lower hourly rate for these services. Paralegals have specialty training, but they don’t spend as many years in school as attorneys. This is one option when lowering costs is important. 

Talk to a Tracy Probate Lawyer Today

Lewman Law, APC is committed to leading you through the complicated probate process with skillful and compassionate guidance. Talk to an experienced probate lawyer today by calling (925) 447-1250.

Filed under Probate Tips

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

What is Probate Litigation?

Are you looking for a Tracy will lawyer? If so, you might have questions about avoiding probate and probate litigation. Probate is the common legal process of transferring a person’s property and assets after their death. In most cases, even if there’s a will probate is still a necessary formality. Although these customs and laws have changed over time, the purpose has remained much the same.

People often leave behind a will, making clear their intentions as to the transfer of their belongings after they’re gone. This is where a Tracy will lawyer can help you create a legally-binding document that stands up in court. Because of this, the process is usually fairly straightforward. The property is collected, debts are paid from the estate, and then what remains is distributed. But sometimes it’s not that simple.

When is Probate Litigation Needed?

In general, probate litigation is needed when there’s a dispute. This can be a conflict over how distributions are made, or who handles the estate. It includes legal challenges when someone has passed on, such as cases involving wills, trusts, estates, asset disputes, joint bank accounts, and gifts. Or, anything else that families can fight about when a loved one dies.

What if it’s Contested?

Remember, the probate process may be contested or uncontested. A good Tracy will lawyer can help you prevent these kinds of disputes. Most contested issues arise because a disgruntled heir is seeking a larger share of the decedent’s property than he or she received. 

The majority of estates, however, are uncontested. Most matters that are handled by probate courts, like admitting wills and assigning executors, are standard and go off without a hitch. But the process can seem confusing without legal guidance.  

Probate Litigation

Any legal contest that arises due to a person’s death or mental incapacity will be filed in a probate court. This is categorized as probate litigation. Unfortunately, sometimes this process involves lengthy court battles. It’s not uncommon for families to disagree over important issues.

Here are a few common examples:

  • Challenges to the validity of a will
  • Guardianship issues
  • Conflict over who will manage a trust: trust modification or reformation lawsuits
  • Second marriage cases where two families are left behind

Related Content: Signs You Need to go into Probate Litigation

Avoiding Probate Litigation

As you can probably imagine, conflicts like these often create long-standing resentments between family members. Not only do disputes over property and assets create bitter resentments, but these court battles are also stressful and costly, especially when they drag on.

Of course, this isn’t the legacy you want to leave behind, so it’s best to work with an estate planning attorney who can help with your estate plan.

Related Content: Do You Need a Probate Litigation Lawyer?

Tracy Will Lawyer

Do you need an experienced Tracy estate planning lawyer to guide you through the process? At Lewman Law, we’ve been protecting families for over twenty years. Please contact us for further information and assistance. The office can be reached at (925) 447-1250. You can also view testimonials by clicking here.

Filed under Probate Tips

What is the Probate Process?

Probate is a process supervised by the court for sorting and authenticating assets left after someone dies. The process ensures the properties are evenly distributed to the creditors and inheritors. It is a daunting process that is full of challenges in case a lawyer is not involved.

Most chosen executors are ever overwhelmed by handling this complex and lengthy process. It includes:

Validating the Final Will

The estate planning attorney has to validate any testament or will of a deceased. Therefore, anyone who might have the will is required to visit the probate court and file it at the right time.

Appointing the Executor or a Personal Representative

Tracy will lawyer a personal representative to oversee the probate litigation and settle the property.

Posting Bond

At times the executor is needed to post a bond, an insurance policy to protect the estate in case of any losses. However, some will do not require the bond. For such, it all depends on the judge.

Identifying the Assets

Here, the probate lawyer will locate then take possession of all the deceased assets to secure and protect them.

Defining Date of Death Charges

The executor is needed to determine the date of death rates for the lest estates through account appraisals and statements.

Identifying and Notifying Creditors

The probate lawyer will now alert the decedent’s creditors on the death. Some executors publish the information in the newspaper to notify other creditors.

Clearing the Deceased Debts

In the case of debts, the creditors’ claims are paid. The probate lawyer pays all the deceased bills and debts using the assets funds.

Preparing and Filing Tax Returns

After the final debts are settled, the executor now files all the deceased the tax returns for the time they passed on.

Dividing the Remaining Estate

After all the above guide is followed, the probate lawyer petitions the probate court for a permit to distribute the left assets to inheritors named on the will.

Close the Estate

After everything is distributed, records, and receipt to the probate court, the estate is closed.

Contact Us

At Tracy law, we have probate lawyers that will take you through the probate litigation. They make a comprehensive plan designed to help your family in the future. Their services uncomplicated the probate process.

In case of any matters related to the probate process, call our professional and compassionate team at Tracy law estate planning attorney to assist you through the probate litigation.

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