When someone in your family dies, most of the time there will be an estate to be taken care of. By definition, an estate is the assets, rights, and entitlements owned by a person during his life and even after he dies. Usually, this is passed on to relatives or someone in the will. However, passing on the estate is not as automatic and smooth-flowing as you would think. This is when a Los Angeles probate lawyer is needed.
What is a probate lawyer?
A probate lawyer is another term for estate lawyer whose main responsibility is guiding you through the whole probate process. They are supposedly the most knowledgeable people in terms of your state’s estate laws and they will be the ones defending your rights in claiming what is rightfully yours.
The probate process varies per state and there are also differences if the decedent (the deceased person) died with a valid last will and testament or if there is none.
At the same time, a probate lawyer is supposed to explain to your personal representative the steps and the legal matters involved in settling the decedent’s estate. This includes debts of the decedent or other people’s pending payments to the decedent. To an extent, a probate lawyer can advise you on what you should do regarding the estate together with the personal representative. The former can also help you in maintaining or distributing the estate especially when you do not fully trust your personal representative.
Lastly, a probate lawyer can represent you if there is another beneficiary of the decedent’s estate. This includes other lawsuits filed by other beneficiaries or any other lawsuit that involves the decedent’s estate.
When do you need a probate lawyer?
If you feel that the estate’s value is not that high, you would think that you don’t have to hire a probate lawyer. This could be a smart option if you know that there is barely anything to be done to the estate or if there is no estate at all. Nonetheless, there are beneficiaries who are in need of a probate lawyer.
You need a probate lawyer when:
– You want to have estate planning. This is more applicable to the person who owns the estate rather than the beneficiaries themselves. Estate planning can help the owner avoid paying excess taxes and to have lower costs when passing on the estate to beneficiaries.
– You don’t know much about estate law. This is one of the main reasons why people look to hire a probate lawyer. Estate laws can be complex and a hassle if you aren’t well-versed with its whole process.
– You have no time to spare. The probate process takes a lot of time and if you’re doing it without a lawyer, you’ll be burnt out even before it’s done. Having a probate lawyer can help you save time and effort.
What are the benefits of having a probate lawyer?
Your and your personal representative’s actions will be guided.
Not all personal representatives know a lot about estate law. Because of this, you stand the risk of paying the wrong amount to the heirs, not having the legal authority to do certain things, and making mistakes in paying creditors. A probate lawyer can help in those areas because he would know the laws and the legal implications of your estate strategy.
It’s more convenient.
Face it, it’s daunting and tiring just thinking about the whole process of the estate. How much more if there was no last will and testament? If you fall under this scenario, then an estate lawyer would be beneficial for you.
The probate process will be fixed faster.
Because an estate lawyer will be experienced in Los Angeles’ laws on decedents and estates, you will find it a lot faster to get the will and testament acted upon. At the same time, it will be faster to get documents prepared and presented because your lawyer will help fix them for you.
Based on the job description, a probate lawyer will have a lot of uses for you and your family. He or she will be the one to ease the legal hassles and disputes that could arise from someone’s death.