At first glance, the probate process easily looks simple and straightforward – that’s because it can be, but in many cases, people inevitably face unpredictable roadblocks. Handling probate is ultimately a case-by-case scenario, and it’s best to be prepared for this unprecedented circumstance by having an experienced probate lawyer by your side as you go through the various steps. Working with a qualified lawyer, like one the lawyers at W.B. Moore Law, gives blanket security while you’re navigating probate with not only confidence and security but also efficiency. There are a lot of small details you could miss as you’re handling and distributing assets, and a professional will make sure you don’t make mistakes that will just cost you more time and energy. In the meantime, here are some basic questions you can ask your attorney as you begin probate.
How Long Does Probate Take?
It ultimately depends on the size of the estate, and it’s especially helpful to work with a lawyer when it comes to larger estates. Small estates may just take a matter of months to liquidate and distribute. Large estates may take a year or longer. You want a trustworthy attorney can transparently tell you what you’ll be responsible for – they’ll help you manage assets, pay any taxes and debts, and distribute funds to heirs and beneficiaries.
How Are Creditors Handled?
When executing a will, all estate creditors are entitled to their reimbursements from the estate’s proceeds. In other words, outstanding debts cannot be avoided. Even though it may feel daunting, an attorney can help you come up with a financial plan to pay these creditors so that you can move forward with paying out the rest of the estate’s beneficiaries.
How Do I Reduce Any Probate Costs?
This is a question you should prioritize asking your attorney. Probate costs can easily pile up if you do not have a strategy in place. Assuming you do not have a legal background, an attorney can closely analyze the estate and come up with strategies and shortcuts that create a path towards frugally and efficiently wrapping up the estate. You do not want to find yourself questioning whether or not you’re taking the best financial path forward.
What Do I Do When Roadblocks Come Up During Probate?
There are unfortunately many types of roadblocks that can come up. Given probate is the division of family finances, tension and conflict can arise. Family members, even creditors, may try to assert they are owed more than the initial financial amounts presented, and an attorney can help you discern what’s accurate vs. what’s inaccurate. You want to be able to squash or resolve any of these allegations as soon as possible. Creditors sometimes may accuse that an executor is not qualified to handle the assets – let your attorney review the surrounding issues so that you can keep moving forward. You should also be aware if the deceased person had a life insurance plan because if they did, it will help guide you as to whether proceeds should be paid directly to beneficiaries, or paid to the estate probated.