We offer a free fifteen-minute telephone consultation. We have over thirty years’ experience working with estates and helping heirs through probate procedures. We are available to talk to you about your case and what we need to do to help you get through this difficult time.
You may be an heir, but in order to get title to property or have access to bank accounts, you must file in court. The first step is filing a petition requesting you be appointed as the administrator or executor of the estate. Thereafter, there are various notices that must be given to heirs, creditors, and the state and federal governments. If your appointment is not contested, it only takes a few months to complete. If there are problems, it can take years to complete the process.
You can help us before we get started by writing a narrative about what happened: who, what, when, and where. We will need a copy of the will (if there is one) and the names and addresses of all of the heirs. This will save you time and money. By helping your lawyers to see the case from your perspective, you are helping your case to get into court faster, and helping to head off any disagreements that might arise.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process, by a court, of having someone’s estate disposed of after they die. This can either be through execution of the deceased person’s will, or through intestacy procedures if the person did not leave behind a will.
Generally, if a person has a will, then they have already appointed an executor or special representative of their estate. The Court’s job is to issue Letters Testamentary appointing that executor or representative, then to oversee that person to be sure that the person follows both the will of the deceased person and the law. If there is any dispute as to what a provision of the will means or whether it is valid, the Court makes the final determination. The Court will often appoint an appraiser to determine the value of the estate, and the executor must account to the Court for the value of all assets and get permission before disposing of assets, whether they are disposed of by being given to the beneficiary named in the will or by being sold or otherwise.
If a person dies without a will, but leaves behind property valued at more than $20,000, then the person’s heirs will have to be determined by the Court and the estate will have to be divided between them. The Court will also likely appoint an executor to oversee the division of the estate between heirs, and this executor will have the same duties as the executor appointed by a will. These duties include taking control of all of the person’s property, finding out the value of the property, accounting to the Court, and making distributions to the heirs.
Why Do I need a Probate Attorney?
You need a probate attorney because we have expertise in getting through the probate process. You might only go through the process one or two times in your life, but we go through probate procedures frequently and understand the ins and outs of the procedures. You wouldn’t operate on yourself, even for a simple surgery. Having an experienced attorney to work through the probate procedures with you is like having a doctor operate. We know the procedure, and we are there with you to help you to avoid complications.
What If all the Heirs are in Agreement?
Having all of the heirs in agreement about how to dispose of property or what to do about large pieces of property shortens the process. Having a will that everyone agrees is legitimate and everyone agrees to follow is the best-case scenario, however. When someone has just passed away, often their children and other relatives will turn on each other out of grief, and will fall to arguing amongst themselves over the estate as a way to preserve the memory of the person who died. We have been through many situations like this, and we can help you and your family to resolve the estate so that you can move on with your lives.
Why Should I Hire your Firm?
We will guide you through the process step-by-step and will keep you informed up to the minute of anything that happens in your case. We will advise you on the best way to resolve any disputes that come up, and our goal is always to make sure that you are protected and that the estate is divided and taken care of in the way that your deceased loved one intended.
We take the worries out of court proceedings by being there for you always and letting you know what to expect ahead of time. Everyone working in this firm is an experienced attorney, and someone is always available to take your call or to answer your questions.