Whether the loss of a loved one is the end of a long struggle with illness or the result of a sudden accident, many families face new challenges getting through the probate process. Especially if it’s the first time working through the proceedings, it can be daunting to get through the process without an experienced attorney.
1. Probate lawyers already know the process
Probate is a process with many necessary steps, a real challenge to navigate without experience. Having a probate lawyer act as a guide can help the executor/personal representative meet all requirements and keep the process moving. The lawyer can facilitate meeting essential deadlines, filing forms, arranging for the executor/personal representative to be bonded, obtaining tax identification numbers, hiring appraisers, realtors and tax professionals, and handling creditors. When these steps are done correctly right from the start, time consuming, costly and stressful supplemental filings, audits and other extra work generally can be avoided.
2. An attorney can help calm family conflicts
The loss of a loved one can cause a great deal of conflict, especially when there are multiple beneficiaries, each of whom may have questions or concerns about how property will be divided and other probate matters handled. A lawyer can help make the process smoother for everyone involved by resolving conflicts and addressing issues before they escalate.
3. Lawyers can help collect or prepare essential documents
From real estate property to debt, many people leave complex assets behind when they pass away. An attorney can help collect the wide variety of documents necessary for opening an estate. An experienced attorney can also prepare any additional documents required to sell property, dissolve businesses or transfer ownership so that the last wishes of the deceased are fulfilled.
4. You may be able to get through the probate process more quickly and with fewer bumps in the road
In Maryland, DC, and Virginia, most estates complete the probate process within a year. However, several different factors can delay and extend the process. A probate lawyer can tell you what’s required and when, so that the proceedings can close as quickly and efficiently as possible. The lawyer can serve as a buffer to address and resolve conflicts among beneficiaries, often preventing them from escalating into family rifts, or even worse, litigation which can become the most costly and time consuming aspect of probate. Having an experienced guide in the probate process helps many families avoid unnecessary delays during an already stressful time.