Managing the numerous legal and financial issues of estate planning can be complicated. A skilled Pennsylvania probate lawyer ensures your inheritance is administered and distributed per your preferences, preventing conflicts and problems.
A probate attorney, also referred to as an estate planning attorney, is a member of the legal community who focuses on assisting people as they create and maintain their estate plans. A PA probate attorney helps clients create necessary paperwork, make critical choices, and ensure their assets are distributed according to their preferences. Below is a discussion of these roles in detail:
Drafting legal documents related to estate planning
A probate lawyer’s primary duties include drafting important estate planning documents, such as:
- Wills: A person’s assets and property should be dispersed according to their wishes through a will, a legal document.
- Trusts: Trusts are organizations established by law to administer and distribute property following predetermined terms and conditions.
- Authority of Attorney: A power of attorney is a legal certificate that allows someone else to act in the creator’s place and make decisions.
- Advance Directives: A living will or healthcare power of attorney are examples of advance directives that specify a person’s healthcare choices if they become incapacitated.
A probate attorney drafts these documents accurately and in compliance with the client’s wishes and the laws.
Guidance when navigating the probate process
The legal process known as “probate” is used to distribute a decedent’s inheritance among their heirs and beneficiaries. To successfully navigate the probate process, a probate attorney can facilitate the following:
- Asset identification and location: Real estate, investments, and personal property are all examples of assets that a probate lawyer can assist in identifying and locating for a decedent.
- Paying debts and taxes: The probate attorney helps the estate resolve unpaid debts and taxes.
- Asset distribution: The probate lawyer assists in distributing the remaining assets following the terms of the will or trust after all obligations and taxes have been settled.
Litigation and dispute resolution in real estate
The estate planning or probate process may occasionally give rise to disagreements. An attorney for probate can be of great help in settling disputes by:
- Mediation: A probate lawyer can facilitate discussions between parties in conflict and direct them toward a mutually agreeable resolution.
- Litigation: If necessary, a probate lawyer can appear on behalf of clients in court to settle disagreements about inheritance, trust management, or other estate-related issues.
Additionally, if there are good reasons to contest a will, this kind of attorney can assist clients in doing so. Let’s take the scenario where the decedent remarried shortly before passing away and bequeathed a sizable portion of their fortune to their new spouse.
A probate lawyer can help if the decedent’s family members, such as the children, submit a petition to contest the will because they believe the beneficiary was chosen unfairly.
The bottom line
Engaging an experienced and trustworthy probate attorney is advisable if you need help with probate matters or estate planning.