If you’re facing estate administration-related decisions after the passing of a loved one, it’s in your best interest to proceed with legal counsel. A probate lawyer is a licensed attorney who will represent you in court, provide you with expert advice, help you navigate complicated legalese, and assist you with the many different aspects of the probate process. These include distributing the decedent’s assets and settling their debts. The responsibilities of a probate lawyer largely depend on the existence of a will. Here are some examples.
Probate Lawyer Responsibilities – Will Present
If there is a will, a probate lawyer will advise the executor(s) of the estate (or a beneficiary) on a variety of legal matters and help to manage the entire probate process. A probate lawyer also reviews the decedent’s will to make sure it wasn’t written or signed against their best interest. If it was signed against the decedent’s best interest, or under duress, a probate lawyer is responsible for defending or filing a will contest. It’s worth noting that challenging a will is generally very difficult. Because of this, the vast majority of wills go through the probate process without any issue and are successfully upheld.
Probate Lawyer Responsibilities – Will Absent
If the decedent failed to write a valid will, their passing is considered intestate. As a result, their estate will be distributed according to the specific intestate laws of the state where their properties are located. The pertaining rules vary by state, but a local probate lawyer will be familiar with the rules in your area.
In this case, a probate lawyer will provide assistance to the administrator of the estate. The decedent’s assets must be distributed according to the relevant state laws, irrespective of the family members’ wishes.
A probate attorney can also assist with securing and filing a legal statement called “renunciation.” This may be applicable when one family member wishes to become the administrator of the estate.
There are many other probate lawyer responsibilities. Some of these include getting an appraisal of the decedent’s properties and effectively securing their assets. Additionally, they assist in preparing and filing all the required documents. A probate lawyer may also collect life insurance proceeds, handle payment of annuities, and deal with creditor claims. Similarly, a probate lawyer can also handle ancillary probate for a property owned in a different state, as well as take on other administrative tasks.
Bay Area Probate Lawyer
If you’re looking for a reputable and experienced probate lawyer in California, contact our office today. At Lewman Law, we work to expertly assist you throughout the probate process. Contact us by phone at (925) 447-1250 to schedule a consultation with John Lewman, Attorney at Law.