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A Beginner’s Guide to Probate

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When a person has died, probate deals with administering the estate. This means the belongings, money, and property of the deceased are arranged by the law firm hired to complete the probate process. 

Due to the delicate and potentially complicated nature of probate, it takes a special type of lawyer to do the job. Not only do they require exceptional administrative, accountancy, and legal abilities, they also need quality people skills above all else. 

For a quick run through of the subject, here is a beginner’s guide to probate from a law firm’s perspective. 

If there’s not a will, there’s still a way

Before knowing which direction to take with settling an estate, it’s down to whether the decedent died either testate or intestate. Testate means they passed away with a last will and testament in place, whereas an intestate means they had no valid will or form of estate plan. Although the latter obviously complicates matters, a well-versed probate lawyer will understand how to solve the issue. 

If a beneficiary doesn’t gel with a personal representative that’s dealing with the estate, a probate lawyer might also need to be called into action. This can also be the case if there’s a dispute between beneficiaries and they challenge what is stated in the last will and testament of a decedent. 

The duties of a probate lawyer 

When working on a probate case, the lawyer will have three main duties: 

  • Collect assets: When an executor is attempting to locate and secure the decedent’s assets, both probate and non-probate, they may call on the assistance of a probate lawyer. They will also assist with estate property sale if needed, and issuing assets to the relevant beneficiaries. 
  • Organise finances: When it comes to the decedent’s outstanding debts and final bills, a probate lawyer will offer advice and prepare the required documents. They will also sort out taxes, funeral costs, and the distribution of property sale money.
  • Settle disputes: At times, a beneficiary will be unhappy. If it escalates, a probate lawyer may be required to request court permission to complete various state law-required actions. 

Reducing the workload 

All of the previous points ensure that a probate lawyer has a heavy workload. Based on expert knowledge, the entire process can take more than 100 hours to complete

At least, that is the case when going the traditional route. With the use of specialist probate case management software, a law firm can: 

  • Manage all estate accounts in one place 
  • Communicate with multiple parties 
  • Manage payments and taxes
  • Automate payments 
  • Manage documents 
  • Automate email and SMS updates 

That’s just the start. While these are all small points when probating, they all amount to making a massive difference. It saves a large amount of money and resources overall. 

More information on this software can be found here:

Why a probate lawyer is needed

It’s true that beneficiaries can attempt to complete the probate process themselves. However, it is a complicated process for anyone without a law background. Even small, innocent mistakes could lead to beneficiaries faced with personal financial liability. 

With a professional probate lawyer, however, the stress of dealing with the issue is removed. This is why probate lawyers are in-demand, and why your law firm should begin offering it as a service.

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