Interestingly, one of the main functions of a probate attorney is helping people avoid having their assets go through the probate process entirely. Doing so has many benefits, not least of which include saving both time and money for your family members and other beneficiaries after you pass away. This is not helpful for people who are currently involved in probate, however. Fortunately, a probate attorney can also provide legal advice and representation to parties with an interest in the outcome of a probate proceeding. Some of the ways in which an attorney can be of assistance are detailed below.
An Attorney can Determine Whether There Are Any Grounds to Challenge The Terms of a Will
One of the main purposes of the probate process is to determine the validity of a will. There are many potential will challenges that could be raised, including the following:
- The age of the will-maker at the time the will was made
- The mental state of the maker of the will
- Undue influence
- Subsequent wills
- Mistake of fact
Recognizing and raising these issues before the probate court is a complicated process that generally requires legal training and experience, so it is important for anyone that is considering challenging a will to do so with the assistance of an attorney.
An Attorney Can Help the Executor or Administrator of an Estate with His or Her Duties
An executor or administrator is the person whose responsibility it is to wind up the affairs of an estate. An executor is named in a will to handle the administration of the estate, while an administrator is the party appointed by the court to perform the same function in the event that there is no will. The executor or administrator has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the estate and is required to handle responsibilities like taking care of property, paying taxes and bills, transferring assets, taking inventory of property, notifying beneficiaries, as well as others.
While these responsibilities can be and are often handled without the assistance of an attorney, there are many ways that a lawyer can help. Importantly, an attorney can help on an ad hoc basis by handling problems or questions as they arise or can take over the matter entirely, outside of making certain decisions regarding the administration of the estate. Some of the cases in which it is highly advisable for an executor or administrator to enlist the help of an attorney include the following:
- If there are challenges to the will
- If there is disagreement between the beneficiaries
- If the estate includes a business or other complicated assets
- If the estate does not have sufficient assets to pay its debts
Call the Law Office of Michael Gertner Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you have questions about the probate process or are in need of representation, you should contact a Columbus probate lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 614-463-9393.