If you have been appointed to serve as the administrator of a loved one’s estate, you may be wondering if you really need to hire a probate attorney to help you. Consider this: There are more than 100 steps that must be taken from the beginning to end of handling somebody’s estate.
Additionally, most of these steps follow a legal process that must be taken in a specific order and within certain time frames. When you work with us, we are by your side through every step, offering legal advice and making sure it is done correctly and efficiently.
Reasons You Should Hire an Experienced Probate Attorney
1. An experienced probate lawyer knows each step of the process and has systems in place to keep your case moving in an expeditious manner. We file all of the required pleadings with the court and ensure that creditors of the estate receive a timely notice to file their claims. In fact, we assist you with every step of the probate process, making sure it is handled correctly and protecting you from personal liability.
2. You may think it will be easy to deal with the beneficiaries of the estate because they are family members and/or friends, but nothing can complicate relationships quicker than arguments over money. Heirs and beneficiaries, whether a surviving spouse or close friend, may be unhappy with their inheritance or they may challenge the validity of the will.
These types of objections can complicate the probate case and cause it to drag out for several extra months. Our attorneys will also negotiate with creditors of the estate to help ensure only valid bills are paid.
3. We assist you with handling the final income taxes, and we analyze the estate to help determine any estate tax consequences. It is imperative that all tax matters are handled correctly to protect you from incurring personal liability.
4. We make sure you get paid for your services. You don’t want to devote all your time and effort to administering the estate without being fairly and reasonably compensated.
5. Our attorneys assist you with distributing the assets to the beneficiaries and obtaining the proper releases. We protect you every step of the way, including making sure the estate is finalized and closed with the court.
What Does a Probate Attorney Do?
Many individuals who are appointed as personal representatives are not sure how the probate process works or what obligations must be fulfilled before the assets of an estate can be distributed. Thus, a probate attorney can provide a personal representative with the advice and guidance needed to successfully administer a will.
We can assist you with the wide variety of issues that can arise from a loved one’s death and transferring assets. When you retain The Legacy Lawyers as your probate attorneys, we will handle a broad range of tasks for you, including:
We file the probate petition to get the executor established by the court. There are numerous pleadings that must be filed with the probate court, including an inventory and appraisal of the estate assets. We also make arguments to the court if there is a will contest or the validity of the will is questioned.
Creditors of the estate must be given notice of the probate action. We address the creditors claims and respond to any inquiries.
We know how to minimize estate taxes to help ensure that the bulk of the estate is passed to beneficiaries, rather than to the government.
We help transfer the deceased’s title to real estate and other assets to the named beneficiaries.
If a minor child has lost his/her parents, we assist with issues related to establishing a legal guardian for the minor.
In some cases, we are named in the deceased’s will as the executor of the estate. This means that we are paid a fee out of the estate to handle all tasks related to the probate of the will.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Probate Attorney?
Probate attorney fees are paid from the estate and not from the executor or personal representative. These fees can be by the hour, a flat fee, or percentage of the property based on the value of the estate.
Although higher fees might be ordered if services rendered are deemed to be above and beyond basic probate services, the statutory fees per state law for both the personal representative and the attorney are 4 percent of the first $100,000 of the estate, 3 percent of the subsequent $100k, 2 percent of the subsequent $800k, 1 percent of the subsequent $900k, and ½ percent of the subsequent $15 million. For the portion of the estate over $25 million, the court determines the fees.
These costs are tabulated prior to the deduction of any debts from the value of the estate. So, for example, if the estate is worth $700,000 and debts amount to $400,000, associated probate costs are determined by the full estate value instead of the $300,000 left over after debts are paid.
Hire a Probate Attorney for Peace of Mind
If you have been appointed to administer a loved one’s estate, you don’t have to go through this alone. We understand that the probate process can be confusing and overwhelming. It is our goal to make it as simple as possible for you. We will carefully walk with you every step of the way.
We will do most of the “heavy lifting” and maintain an open line of communication throughout the entire process. Call our law firm today if you have any questions: (800) 840-1998.