Make A Great Impression In The Courtroom

Make A Great Impression In The Courtroom

Understanding the Responsibilities of a Probate Attorney

by Richard Ramirez

Navigating the legal process after the death of a loved one can be overwhelming, especially when it involves the complexities of probate. A probate attorney is crucial in guiding individuals and families through this process, ensuring that the deceased person's estate is handled according to the law and their wishes. Here’s a closer look at the responsibilities and importance of a probate attorney.

Estate Administration and Probate Process

One of the primary responsibilities of a probate attorney is to oversee the estate administration and guide clients through the probate process. Probate refers to the court-supervised process of validating a deceased person's will, if one exists, and distributing their assets to beneficiaries. The attorney helps ensure that all legal requirements are met, including filing necessary documents with the court, notifying creditors and beneficiaries, and resolving possible disputes.

Interpreting and Executing Wills

Probate attorneys assist in interpreting and executing the terms of a deceased person's will. They review the will to determine its validity and clarity, ensuring that it accurately reflects the deceased person's intentions regarding the distribution of their assets. If there are ambiguities or disputes regarding the will's provisions, the attorney provides legal guidance and may represent clients in probate court to resolve these issues.

Asset Inventory and Valuation

A crucial aspect of probate is inventorying and valuing the deceased person's assets and debts. Probate attorneys work closely with executors or personal representatives appointed by the court to compile a comprehensive list of assets, including real estate, financial accounts, personal belongings, and investments. They may engage appraisers or financial professionals to assess the value of these assets, ensuring accurate reporting to the court and proper distribution according to the will or state laws if there is no will (intestate succession).

Handling Creditor Claims and Debts

During probate, creditors can file claims against the estate for outstanding debts owed by the deceased person. A probate attorney reviews these claims, verifies their legitimacy, and negotiates settlements if necessary. They ensure that legal priorities handle creditor claims and that the estate's assets are used appropriately to satisfy debts before distributing inheritances to beneficiaries.

Resolving Disputes and Litigation

Disputes among beneficiaries, challenges to the validity of the will, or disagreements over estate administration can arise during probate proceedings. Probate attorneys are crucial in resolving these disputes through negotiation, mediation, or litigation in probate court if necessary. They advocate for their client's interests, seek equitable resolutions, and ensure that the deceased person's wishes and legal rights are upheld throughout the process.

A probate attorney's responsibilities encompass guiding clients through the complexities of estate administration, interpreting and executing wills, inventorying assets, handling creditor claims, resolving disputes, managing tax obligations, and planning for future estate needs. Choosing a qualified probate attorney can provide peace of mind and confidence in navigating the legal intricacies of probate and estate administration.

Contact a firm like Mastrianni & Seguljic LLC to learn more. 


About Me

Make A Great Impression In The Courtroom

Hello, I'm Phillip Kerr and I just love the legal profession and courtroom drama. Have you ever watched judge shows on TV? I know that these shows are not an accurate representation of the courtroom, but there is something you may have noticed. Some individuals come into the courtroom well-dressed, articulate, respectful and with the knowledge and documents necessary to support a case, while others come unprepared, slovenly dressed and appear as if they do not have a care in the world. How you present yourself and the knowledge that you have of the law will have an impact on how you are treated, even if you have legal representation. This blog is designed to assist those who are going to trial in doing just that.