Situations When You Should Hire A Probate Lawyer For Help Settling An Estate


When a close loved one passes away, someone in the family typically needs to settle the will and estate of the person. This is easy to do if your loved one prepared for this event, but it can be very difficult if your loved one did not prepare. You can settle these matters without a lawyer in some cases, but here are several situations in which you should hire a probate lawyer for help.

You Cannot Locate a Will

Without a will, settling a person's estate is a very difficult task. A will is a legal document that states a person's wishes relating to the things the person owns. When a person dies, this is often the first document the family will look for. The will should state exactly who gets what from the person's things, and this ensures that the person's wishes are carried out as they wanted.

The problem with wills is that not everyone has one. The other problem with a will is that people can fight it. For example, if you find your parent's will and it stated that you get everything and your sibling gets nothing, your sibling might fight the will. When a family member disputes a will, it can cause major delays in settling the estate, and it can even cause the will to change.

Without a will, there is no legal, written record of a person's wishes, and the court will not typically just let a family member decide what to do with the things the person left. In this case, you would definitely want to hire a probate lawyer for help, because it is far too difficult to settle an estate without an attorney when there is no will.

The Accounts Do Not Have Beneficiaries or Are Not Joint Accounts

A second situation in which you would need a lawyer is when the accounts your loved one left did not have joint tenancy rights. Accounts with joint tenancy rights are relatively easy to divide, as they often go straight to the person listed on the accounts. When the accounts are not held jointly, and there is no will, how will you know what to do with the money in the accounts?

In most cases, accounts like this must go through probate court. Probate court is used to determine who will receive the assets of a person who died, and it is necessary for transferring legal ownership rights of assets from the deceased individual to the beneficiary of the item.

The Person Had Valuable Assets Not Included in the Will or Estate Planning

The other situation that would require the help of an attorney is when a person has valuable assets that were not included in the will or in any other type of estate planning documents. For example, did your parent own a business? If so, this can end up becoming a tricky subject during this time. It can be hard to know who to give the business to or how to divide it up if your loved one did not leave any instructions.

A business is just one example of an asset that can be hard to divide, but there are many others, including land, rental properties, or vacation homes.

While you do not have to hire a probate lawyer to settle an estate, it is still usually a good idea because settling an estate is tricky, especially if you encounter any of these situations. If you would like to learn more about this topic or get help settling your loved one's estate, contact a law office that offers probate legal services, or check out websites like


13 November 2017

Exploring Real Estate Attorney Services

Hi there, my name is Mindy Simmons. Welcome to my website about real estate attorney services. When I found out that I had to move for my job, I immediately started looking for a way to manage my homebuying and selling activities. Since I had to focus the bulk of my attention on my new job, I enlisted the help of a real estate attorney to help me out. With this professional by my side, I did not have to worry about erroneous paperwork or other dire problems. I created this website to help others understand the services offered by real estate attorneys everywhere. Thanks.