For someone who has never been involved in the execution of a will, hiring a probate attorney may seem paranoid or insensitive. So some beneficiaries and trustees go it alone and hope for the best.
However, most people are not experienced guiding a will through probate. Even though they have good intentions and may be experienced in other financial matters, they may make key mistakes that take time and effort to fix. Trustees may even find themselves facing litigation — and costs associated with going to court — because they failed to hire a probate attorney as step one.
Among the services a probate attorney can provide are the following:
- Make sure the personal representative understands and follows their fiduciary duty.
- Help the personal representative distribute the estate’s assets.
- Assist with possible complications, like questions about the title on a piece of real estate.
- Settle the estate as quickly as possible.
- Guide family members through the paperwork, which can be overwhelming otherwise.
Many decedents pass away with significant debts, and lenders may move quickly to force a settlement, especially if the decedent died intestate, meaning without a will. Without an attorney to protect the rights of the estate and its personal representative, a bad deal could be the result.
For these and other reasons, trustees who wish to avoid unnecessary headaches should consider finding a probate attorney to help handle the estate. If the deceased was a close family member, doing so can also help you focus more on the grieving process and comforting your family.