The probate process protects the rights of all parties with a potential claim to a person's estate. You might wonder whether you need to hire a probate law attorney. Fortunately, you can usually assess your need for a probate lawyer by comparing your situation to the folks who usually retain counsel. Let's look at four examples.
Generally, most estates' beneficiaries don't need to hire lawyers for probate. However, a beneficiary may if they have questions to bring before the court. Likewise, they will almost certainly want counsel if they wish to ask the court to start a probate proceeding to protect their rights.
Contentiousness among beneficiaries is a possible sign a probate case is coming. If you're having arguments with other beneficiaries about who should get what, it may be wise to prepare for a fight by lawyering up.
Parties Unnamed in the Estate
It's important to note no one has an obligation to leave anything in their estate to anyone. The general fact a person, even a direct descendant of the estate's grantor, wasn't a named beneficiary doesn't entitle them to a piece of an estate.
However, you might want to bring the matter before the probate court if you believe there was wrongdoing. For example, if you feel the grantor cut you out of their will because of undue influence, that's an argument for probate. This sometimes happens if a person remarries late in life. There are also scenarios where nurses, accountants, and other people close to grantors late in life unduly influence changes.
Bear in mind these claims are considered dramatic. You need to have evidence not only showing the undue influence but also demonstrating the deceased wasn't in a position to make good judgments. These cases often hinge on questions about a grantor's physical and mental health in their last days.
A creditor has a right to probate, too, if the deceased owed them money. Most commercial credit companies have processes and counsel for this purpose. If you're a less traditional creditor, such as a friend who lent money to the deceased with an agreement in writing, you might need to consult with a probate lawyer before initiating proceedings.
The disposition of commercial operations or property can be tricky. If you're a business partner of the deceased, you may want to have the court clarify the status of their stake in your operation. This is especially the case if you believe the deceased disposed of assets in the estate that should have reverted to the business.Share
22 October 2021
After my mom turned 68 years old, she started doing all kinds of strange things. She spent her monthly retirement checks on excessive amounts of food and clothing but didn't pay her rent or bills on time. At one point, she forgot who I was to her. Since my mom lived alone at an independent apartment complex, I couldn't monitor her behavior every second of the day. I brought these things to my mom's attention, but she refused to get medical help. After my mother called the fire department to report a fake fire, I took legal action. I contacted a general attorney and became my mother's power of attorney. I now had the right to monitor my mom's finances and medical care. If your loved one needs help, read my blog for information on general attorneys. You'll find tips, articles and much more to help you get started.