If you are unsure of whether or not you need a probate lawyer. We focus on probate and other estate planning legal services for residents in the Phoenix area. Probate is not always necessary, but it is a legal process and so it’s important that the Court’s requirements are met and that the applicable rules are followed. Lawyer offices often offer a complimentary consultation with our probate lawyer to determine which, if any, of our legal services you may be in need of. We welcome you to call us and make an appointment today to learn more.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal process that is handled by a probate court and judge following the death of someone and its focus is to determine if the decedent’s will is legitimate and how the assets should be distributed if there was no valid will. In addition, if the will does not designate an executor to manage the estate, the probate judge will name someone. Usually, that person is a close relative of the decedent. There are other aspects of the probate process that may also come into play, depending on the circumstances. Your probate lawyer can tell you if any of the following will be necessary during probate:
- Validate the decedent’s will.
- Appoint an executor to follow the instructions of the will and eventually close out the estate.
- Determine the location of each of the estate’s assets and assess the value of each asset.
- Identify each beneficiary and which should inherit which asset or assets and the amount of each, such as cash or percentages of liquidated assets.
- Payment of estate taxes and debts to creditors.
What does a probate attorney do?
A probate lawyer provides legal counsel to an estate’s executor or the will’s beneficiaries of a decedent’s estate. Every situation is different and so a probate lawyer’s tasks and responsibilities varies from one case to the next. In large part, the probate lawyer’s actions will be guided by the probate laws of the State of Arizona and whether or not the decedent died without leaving a valid will. Some of the services that our probate lawyer can provide clients includes:
- Identify and locate the estate’s assets.
- Appraise the value of the estate’s assets.
- File all required documentation for the probate process to the correct authorities and before the deadline expires.
- Provide legal guidance to the estate’s executor as to payment of the decedent’s debts and bills (including burial costs if appropriate), and liquidation of assets in order to pay the estate’s debt and taxes.
- Assist in settling any disputes that arise between the estate’s beneficiaries and/or with the executor.
- Provide guidance during the distribution of the decedent’s assets to the named beneficiaries.
Should I hire a probate attorney?
Ultimately, this is a personal decision but in many cases, hiring a probate lawyer is beneficial when the goal is to streamline the process and ensure that it is completed lawfully and correctly. Contact us at a probate lawyer today and request a free consultation.