A probate attorney is a lawyer that guides executors and beneficiaries of an estate through the complicated process of probating a deceased person’s estate. This is the legal procedure of sharing an individual’s property after death, in accordance with state law and the stipulations laid out in their will, or without a will (known as intestate). A probate attorney handles everything from identifying estate assets to dispersing them to heirs and beneficiaries.
Probate lawyers have many different responsibilities and the degree to which they’re involved depends on the size and complexity of the estate. In some cases, they may only be involved in the early stages, helping to locate and identify estate assets and preparing income tax forms for the estate. In other situations, a probate lawyer might play a more hands-on role, taking care of things such as paying debts and obtaining appraisals for real estate. They might also be tasked with managing the decedent’s checking account, collecting life insurance policies and other accounts. If the estate has a lot of debt, a probate attorney might even assist in selling off assets to pay those debts, though this is not a typical scenario.
In addition, if a conflict arises regarding the will, a probate attorney might represent a party in a court dispute. This could be due to claims by beneficiaries that the will was written under duress or undue influence, for example. Or, it might be because one beneficiary was left out of the will altogether, which is not uncommon in some cases.
Some of the most important roles for a probate attorney involve dealing with family members who contest the will. These issues can sometimes get very messy and contentious. It is important to work with a probate attorney that has extensive experience in this area of law. They can often be helpful in avoiding a long and drawn out court case by working through the disputes in a more civilized manner.
Probate litigation is not only expensive, but it can also be emotionally draining for all parties involved. Having a good probate lawyer can make the entire process much less stressful for everyone involved, including the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate. This is why it is important to choose an experienced attorney who specializes in probate cases, rather than a general practice lawyer who works on various types of legal matters. Also, it is recommended to choose an attorney who has worked with the particular judge that is overseeing your case. This will ensure that they have a solid understanding of the unique way that each judge handles probate lawsuits and will know how to proceed accordingly. You can find a qualified probate attorney in Chicago at Davis & Associates. We have years of experience in the field and have handled countless probate cases for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!