Four Reasons An Executor Of An Estate Should Hire A Probate Attorney

Although most states allow an estate to avoid probate if it is under a specified amount, many estates will need to go through a probate court. If you have been named the executor of a will, when the time comes, you will want to hire an attorney for the probate process. The following are a few good reasons to hire a lawyer.

A probate attorney can handle conflicts over the will

Even when the will is clear, there can be great conflict over who should receive a particular piece of property. Friends, and especially relatives, can fight over matters that may not constitute an extremely valuable inheritance. Sometimes, the will can be challenged in court. Of course, all of this can delay the time in which beneficiaries can receive their property. Therefore, you need to hire a lawyer who has diplomatic skills and the experience to soothe animosities between warring parties. Also, a lawyer may be able to offer creative solutions to issues that are satisfactory to everyone.

A probate attorney can pay off the estate's debts properly

Part of the probate process is to pay off debts before assets can be distributed to the heirs of the estate. It is possible that an executor is unaware of one or more outstanding debts. An attorney can identify all the outstanding debts, as well as the proper amounts owed, and settle these debts. It may be that the deceased did not have sufficient cash to pay these debts, so certain assets will need to be sold. There may also be claims against the estate for debts that are not owed. All of this is more easily handled by a lawyer than by an executor without legal knowledge.

A probate attorney can file the deceased's taxes

Many probate attorneys offer this service. Even though a person has died, in most situations, a tax return must be filed, so knowledge of taxes, especially for those who have died, is essential. As an executor, you'll want to minimize the tax owed or, in some cases, maximize the return so that as much of the proceeds of the estate as possible can be passed down to the heirs.

A probate attorney can file the proper paperwork

There are documents that should be filed with the court, and an attorney can do this with fewer problems than you are likely to have. In addition, they have knowledge of the deadlines that may exist for specific filings.

Contact a probate attorney for more information.