Useful information to help guide
your probate process

3 Ways to Tell If You Need a Probate Lawyer

Wills, probate administration, and estate planning are delicate subjects, at best. Certainly, they’re the sort of topic that can stop a dinner party conversation cold (trust us on this one).

Nevertheless, they are incredibly important to get a handle on these matters sooner, rather than later. A probate lawyer can help get you on the right track.

But how can you tell if bringing on a probate lawyer is right for you? Do you really need an attorney to help you with these affairs? Broadly speaking, you might wish to consult with an experienced probate attorney if:

1.) You Need a Will – Or You Have Questions About Your Current One

While many people out there are quick to tell you that you’re capable of writing a will on your own, the reality is that it can be a lot trickier to get right than some people think. When you go into the process of creating your will, there are all sorts of moving parts that need to be thought through. What assets will need to be distributed? How will you go about setting up a trust? Do you have a living will and a power of attorney ready to go in the event of an emergency?

In addition to working through and understanding the “fine print,” so to speak, an attorney will also be able to ensure that your will is completely legally sound and ready to hold up to scrutiny; if it’s not, your loved ones could face issues later on.

Speaking of which…

2.) You Want to Make Sure Your Family Is Cared For

When a person passes away, they leave their family not only their treasures and valued assets, but also their debts and responsibilities.

As you consider whether or not you should bring on a legal professional to assist you as you head into the estate planning process, be sure to think of your family – their wants, their needs, and their temperaments.

For one thing, you’ll want to consider consulting with a probate lawyer if you’re not sure if your estate will be able to cover all debts, including final income taxes, expenses of the last illness, and funeral costs, to name a few. An attorney will be able to help you determine which creditors require priority over others, and can help put you in a position to understand state and federal estate taxes. These are all important matters, and can prove stressful (and costly) when left up to an executor.

Another big thing to keep in mind is the unique dynamics of your family. Are you as bloodthirsty and bickering as a clan from Game of Thrones, as tight-knit as The Brady Bunch, or (more likely) somewhere in the middle?

Even in the best of circumstances, the stress of handling estate matters and the pain of losing a relative can put families on edge. If you fear that there may be disputes about your will serious enough to wind up in court, it’s important to talk to a lawyer, who may be able to help you and yours avoid a legal battle somewhere down the line.

And on that subject...

3.) You Want to Avoid the Hassles of Probate

Probate proceedings can be tricky and exhausting for the executor and family of the decedent. And the most effective way to avoid putting family members through the hassle of probate down the line is to shore up your estate planning in the here and now.

Simplifying the process and lowering the fees faced by your family members is possible, but it will take a little bit of planning. At Chicago Probate Lawyers, we’d be happy to sit down and help you understand what you need to do at every step of the way, including determining what assets do and do not need to go through probate, as well as assisting with all matters relating to wills, trusts, and power of attorney.

If you’re the executor of an estate, we can also help you with all matters of probate and estate administration, including matters of heirship, wills and trusts, independent or dependent administration, estate accounting, distributions, transferring or clearing title to real or personal property, collecting assets, and disposing of unwanted property.

It’s never too late to get started. Have any more questions? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line today.

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