For any executive, going through the succession process is quite time consuming and complicated. If you are in charge of fulfilling the deceased’s last wish, you may be looking for ways to ensure that assets are calculated, liabilities are settled, and the rest of the property is distributed among the beneficiaries. The whole process can take a few months or a few years. Therefore, it is best that you enlist the services of a probate attorney. Below are some of the questions you can ask before hiring one.
1. What is the size of the property?
In each state, the definition of the size of the estate is different. For example, if the real estate value does not exceed $ 150,000, a simple estate is needed. The great thing about simple succession is that it can save you a lot of time and money.
2. Does the estate have enough money to cover the debts of the deceased?
In an ideal situation, the will has many estate resources to offset the debts of the estate. However, this is not the case for all properties. After taking an inventory of assets and other property, there may not be enough money left to cover the descendant’s taxes and debts. Therefore, you may want to get expert advice before making payment to other creditors.
Under state law, creditors are paid on a priority basis, so you may want help from a probate attorney. They know much better how to distribute money efficiently.
3. Is it possible to transfer the deceased’s assets out of the estate?
Depending on the descendant’s planning, it may be possible to distribute the assets without taking the matter to probate court. Therefore, you may want to find out if the assets are held jointly or in trust. Sometimes assets are held in property payable on death.
Also, probate is not necessary when the assets left by the descendant are to be distributed under the terms of a contract, such as a life insurance policy or a retirement account. In the case of an insurance policy, the assets are transferred to the named beneficiary in the event of the death of the insured.
If the descendant’s assets fall into this category, it is not necessary to retain the services of a probate attorney.
4. What are family dynamics?
The succession process can involve stress and uncertainty due to the family dynamics of the descendant. In some cases, a family member may file legal objections, complicating the probate process. For example, if a family member comes forward and challenges the will, they will have to take the matter to court to resolve it. In this case, you will need to retain the services of a professional probate attorney.
Simply put, you may want to ask yourself these 4 questions if you are trying to figure out whether you should retain the services of a probate attorney. The answers to these questions will help you make this decision with confidence.