Usually, a person isn’t even aware of what a probate lawyer does until he or she is in need of one, after a family member has died and help is needed immediately. But it's a great idea to hire a probate lawyer before you actually “need” his or her services so things can go as smoothly as possible when it comes to taking an estate through the probate process.
The probate lawyer’s job is to assist families as an estate passes through the court system so it can be distributed properly. There are several steps that the court must go through to close an estate, and the attorney makes sure everything is started and followed through on, as these steps are being followed.
Some basics of probate include:
• Validating the will
• Creating an inventory of assets
• Getting appropriate appraisals for assets
• Creating a list of debts
• Paying debts
• Dispersing the remaining property according to the will
If there is no will, the estate is said to be “intestate,” and the court will have even more say in what becomes of the decedent’s property.
Not every estate needs a probate lawyer. Some families have placed their assets into trusts that don’t go through the probate process. Some wills are simple and easy to execute, such as where there are little to no debts and common property is left to a surviving spouse alone. In other cases, though, hiring a probate lawyer will simplify the process for everyone involved and will most likely save the estate a fair amount of money. That's because the attorney can implement strategies to help lower the taxes that must be paid.
He or she can also become an objective outside party who can assist the executor of the will where family tensions run high. Along those same lines, if someone with a legal or financial interest in the estate wants to contest the will, it makes sense to have a probate attorney working to make sure the decedent’s wishes are carried out to the best of the court’s ability. Finally, it can be a good idea to involve a probate lawyer where an individual has a terminal illness. The attorney can help that person to get their affairs in order by drawing up a will and understanding first-hand what the person wants for the estate.
There are many tasks that the probate lawyer will perform for the estate such as:
• Filing documents with the court
• Creating lists of assets
• Placing legal notices in newspapers
• Contacting creditors
• Making sure taxes are paid on the estate
A good probate lawyer will keep current on relevant laws as they change and will work to help the clients and heirs follow all of the right procedures while doing their best to protect their interests. If we can assist you and your family, please call us at 770-425-6060.
If you are raising a child with a physical or developmental disability, we understand the obstacles and difficulties you face on a daily basis.
Between running to and from specialist's appointments, IEP meetings, occupational and speech therapy and caring for your child's basic needs, there is little time to take care of the tasks of today, let alone plan for tomorrow.
But, as you already know, there are also legal and financial concerns that must be considered for the future such as:
* Who would raise your child if something unexpectedly happened to you and/or your spouse?
* How can you ensure enough money is left behind should your child require a lifetime of care?
* What happens when your child turns 18? How can you continue to make medical and financial decisions on his or her behalf? And,
* How can you ensure your child is not taken advantage of financially or emotionally if you are no longer there to protect him or her?
The answers to all of these questions are found in the pages of our free Georgia special needs planning guide, "Legal Planning For Special Needs Children." While each legal situation is as unique as your special child, the Atlanta special needs attorneys at GeorgiaFamilyLaw : Worrall Law LLC wrote this guide as a basic overview for busy parents who simply need a roadmap towards creating a worry-free future.
* How to choose legal guardians who can raise your child if something unexpectedly happens to you
* How to ensure the guardians you choose have enough resources to provide your child with a lifetime of care
* What are special needs trusts and how can they be used to preserve government benefits and safeguard your child from creditors and predators
* How to handle the process of guardianship once your child turns 18 so you can continue making medical and financial decisions on his or her behalf
* Why you need a team of trusted advisors NOW, and who should be on that team to ensure the long-term care and protection of your child
* ....and so much more!