When a loved one passes away and leaves an estate to their heirs, the beneficiaries may wonder if they need the legal advice of a probate attorney. Whether or not you need to engage the services of probate lawyer if you are in this situation depends on various factors. This article examines specific circumstances where hiring a probate lawyer is to your advantage.
If all of the heirs are in agreement about the distribution of a deceased person's estate, then hiring an attorney might not be necessary. If even one beneficiary, however, contests a will or the distribution of an estate, then the other parties will definitely need a probate lawyer to protect their interests.
If you try to fight the individual contesting the asset distribution without expert advice, you are going to be at a huge disadvantage because probate disputes can be quite complex and cannot be easily navigated by the average layperson.
The vast majority of states have a simplified process called summary probate that allows heirs of an estate avoid many of the complications of the normal probate procedure. Summary probate is only available to states that are under a certain dollar amount in value. This limit varies from state to state and can range from $30,000 in New York to $200,00 in Nevada.
If the estate left by your loved one does not fall under this limit, then you will not qualify for the simplified process. In this case, it's a good idea to seek the advice of a probate attorney to help you with the more complex standard probate procedure.
You will probably also need legal counsel if you are heir to a business. Probate laws regarding the assets of a business are typically quite complicated and vary depending on the state where the deceased person resided. In many instances, only an experienced professional will be able to deal with this issue successfully.
Whether or not the deceased owed any debt that must be paid by their estate is also a factor in deciding if you need an attorney. If you are not sure if the estate can pay all of the debts, or if the estate is legally required to pay a particular debt, you need the assistance of a probate expert to determine the best way to proceed.
If you have any uncertainty about whether you need a probate lawyer, contact an office that offers probate law services to learn more.