Who Needs A Probate Law Attorney?
Probate law exists to ensure that a deceased person's estate will go as they had planned. It is generally a standard and boring process, but there are some scenarios where it might get interesting. Consequently, some folks with interests in an estate should consider obtaining counsel. The following three parties ought to talk with a probate law attorney.
Executors and Administrators
An executor is a person appointed by the decedent to govern the estate during its disposition, and an administrator is a court-appointed person who serves the same role. People handling these jobs may need counsel for several reasons. Foremost, the process requires extensive documentation, and it's helpful to have a probate law attorney assist you with submitting the paperwork. Secondly, the judge may have some questions, and it's a good idea to have counsel tell you what they mean and how to answer them.
It is also possible there may be some legal disputes about the disposition of the estate. In some extreme cases, beneficiaries might take exception to how an executor has handled money and assets. This can create fraud exposure for an executor so it's wise to have a lawyer present if these kinds of questions are circulating.
Individuals who are beneficiaries or believe they should be can raise questions during the probate process. For example, beneficiaries might assert their rights if the deceased died without a will. It can take some time to sort out who the court believes has a rightful claim to an estate in the absence of documentation.
As previously noted, beneficiaries can also bring cases against executors or raise concerns. If a beneficiary believes an executor isn't doing enough to preserve the value of the estate's assets, for example, they might ask the court to instruct the executor. They may even ask the judge to remove the executor and appoint an administrator. In the worst cases, it's possible the beneficiaries might sue the executor for negligence or fraud.
One of the main goals of probate law is to protect the rights of all parties that might have claims against an estate. Creditors have the right to ask the court to pump the brakes on distributing money and assets from estates until outstanding debts are satisfied. Some debts may be big enough that there could be bankruptcy-style questions about dividing the remaining wealth equitably amongst the creditors. It is critical for a probate law attorney who's representing creditors to register their concerns as soon as possible.
For more information on probate law, contact a professional near you.