By Kent Berk on January 1st, 2015 in
How can an attorney help me through the probate process? A lawyer can help you through the probate process in many ways, depending upon the situation, legal issues and your unique family and personal circumstances. Notably, an attorney can help you get the will admitted to probate, have the personal representative appointed, give notice to creditors, and give notice to heirs.
An attorney can also:
• Assist in dealing with will contests – disputes over whether a will was made when the person lacked testamentary capacity or was of unsound mind or was unduly influenced.
• Facilitate hiring other professionals, such as accountants to make sure that the appropriate notices are provided to the Internal Revenue Service and the Arizona Department of Revenue.
• Make sure that appropriate creditor claims are paid or rejected that are presented against the estate.
• Ensure that all assets are investigated and collected.
• Make sure that all claims available to personal representatives are evaluated and pursued.
In probate, there are many other types of issues and disputes that may arise. Depending upon the size of the estate, type of assets involved and other factors, probate can be simple or it can be complicated. The presence of creditors and issues over the interpretation of the will can also raise complications in a probate case. What a lawyer can do for your probate matter depends upon the unique situation.
Probate attorneys often represent a personal representative of an estate. The personal representative is also called an executor or manager of the estate. One common question is: what does the personal representative have to do to administer an estate? A personal representative has many duties, which depend upon the nature and size of the estate, creditor claims and whether any disputes or claims are made. Among other things, the personal representative is responsible for collecting all assets, providing an inventory of the assets, paying the creditors, distributing the estate to the beneficiaries or heirs and providing an accounting. Some of these steps may not be necessary or may be waived.
Disputes may arise regarding whether a will is valid, was the result of undue influence or the person lacked testamentary capacity, or simply with respect to how to interpret and apply the will.
The personal representative of the estate is typically required to make an inventory of all of the assets of the estate, value all of the assets of the estate and provide the inventory to all interested persons. In addition to these, there are many other aspects to a personal representative’s duties. A knowledgeable attorney can help in guiding the personal representative through this sometimes long and often confusing process.
Even if probate isn’t necessary for you and your family, an experienced estate litigation attorney may be able to help you. The lawyers at Berk Law Group, P.C. are dedicated to helping families in Scottsdale, Arizona, solve estate litigation and other legal issues. Contact us today with any questions or concerns about the probate process and how we can help you.