Probate is a court process during which a will is legally proved and accepted as a valid document, and the deceased person’s property and assets are distributed accordingly. It may also refer to an estate that must be settled according to state laws in cases where no will was in place prior to the person’s death. Either way, probate, can sometimes become a lengthy and complicated process. If you are involved with an estate, you are certainly ahead of the game if the deceased person had a will or trust in place. However, seeking the advice of a Palm Desert probate attorney is recommended, regardless of your individual situation.
Pitfalls of Probate
One of the major pitfalls of probate is the time it takes to properly reach estate settlement. This can be a source of frustration for family members and those involved in the deceased person’s estate. Probate can also be a costly process, and the longer it drags out, the more expensive it becomes. Another little-known fact about probate is that it is a public process, which means the finances and other personal matters of the deceased may be made public before the estate is settled. Naturally, arguments among family members may also ensue, particularly if beneficiaries were not designated in a clear and concise manner.
How a Probate Attorney in Palm Desert Can Help
A probate lawyer can assist and advise you in numerous areas. For instance, if you are the estate’s beneficiary, but have little or no knowledge of tax laws, the attorney can determine if you have any tax obligations and discover when money will become available to satisfy these bills.
If you wish, the probate lawyer will also balance the estate’s checkbook and provide advice on the payment of the decedent’s final bills and outstanding debts. Most attorneys also complete “date of death appraisals” on all the deceased’s property as well. This can be a daunting task for someone who is not a legal professional.
A probate attorney can also offer advice regarding complicated issues. For example, you may be the beneficiary of the estate but not the executor or vice versa. If you are not on friendly terms with other people involved in the settlement of the estate, a lengthy probate process may follow, even if a will was in place. Additionally, a person who was not a designated beneficiary may challenge the will’s validity. This is referred to as a will contest and attorneys who handle probate cases can offer advice regarding this matter. Unfortunately, most people have no warning when their death will occur. For this reason, seeking the advice of a probate lawyer is a wise option if you are involved in the settlement of a deceased person’s estate.