What Are the Responsibilities of an Estate Planning Attorney?
Whenever a person dies, their loved ones must swiftly determine whether they had any estate plans in place, such as a will, trust, or combination of formal contracts that dictate their wishes for disbursing their assets and property to surviving loved ones. The probate process may be very time-consuming and tedious, or it may only apply to a small set of issues related to a death. Ultimately, the existence of any estate plans and their enforceability determine how extensive the probate process could be for any given death.
Since the elements of the probate process fluctuate on a case-by-case basis, a probate attorney could handle many different possible tasks during probate proceedings in California:
- A Fair Oaks probate lawyer will likely begin probate representation by determining whether the deceased in question held any estate plans, wills, trusts, or other formal documents that could potentially streamline probate proceedings.
- Probate lawyers work closely with personal representatives of deceased individuals, estate executors, and other parties relevant to the process. A good probate attorney will ensure a personal representative or executor has everything they need to handle their responsibilities to the probate process.
- A probate lawyer can assist an executor in disbursing estate contents, paying estate debts, and tracking all expenses for the estate in a running tabulation for later reference. The attorney will also ensure traceability for all transactions involving the deceased’s estate.
- Probate attorneys prepare their clients for intestate succession proceedings if their deceased loved ones had no estate plans in place. When a person dies without any estate plan, the laws of intestate succession determine which beneficiaries assume ownership of the deceased’s assets and debts. An attorney can help a family prepare for these determinations.
- An experienced Fair Oaks probate lawyer can also arrange appraisals of property and coordinate expert reviews of complex assets and other unclear elements of a probate case. This financial research assists in disbursement, ensuring every beneficiary receives an appropriate amount based on the deceased’s last wishes.
A reliable Fair Oaks Estate Planning attorney is a great asset during any type of probate proceedings, especially those when the deceased had no estate plans in place, when the surviving family may not know the best approach to the legal proceedings they face.
What Questions Should I Ask a Probate Lawyer?
If you need legal representation for probate proceedings in Sacramento County, a Fair Oaks probate lawyer is a fantastic ally. While you shouldn’t delay obtaining legal counsel, it is equally important not to rush your decision to hire a lawyer. Take your time and ensure the Fair Oaks estate planning attorney you choose can handle the unique variables of your case.
Consider asking a potential attorney a few questions to gauge their suitability to handle your case:
- “How long have you practiced probate law?”
- “Have you handled cases similar to this one in the past?”
- “What type of outcome do you expect in this case?”
- “Are there any unique factors that warrant immediate investigation?”
- “How long do you expect the probate process to last?”
Ask these to determine whether the lawyer is an appropriate choice. Take time to develop a few more questions that are particular to your unique case.