The role of an executor over a person’s estate and/or will is never an easy one. Not only is it potentially complicated, with a lot of drama accompanying it, dealing with death can be an emotionally difficult thing for even the most hardened of the individual.
Even if you think you are ready for the difficult task of handling probate or handling the death of a loved one, it may simply not be as easy as you think. We are going to offer you some helpful hints to assist you in determining when an executor should seek legal assistance when administrating the estate of a loved one who passed.
When to seek legal help to administer an estate?
Now, in a lot of cases, serving in the role of an executor may not be at all difficult, mainly because there is not much if any drama to have to sort through. In fact, we would reckon that you are more likely than not to have mostly smooth sailing, and for reasons, you may not be expecting.
Family troubles can feature a lot of different angles from which things can go wrong — for example, what if two members of the family have certain expectations of what they are owed from the estate, or what their standing with the estate is?
You may even run into a situation where a member of your family is acting in bad faith and trying to get more than they are owed from the estate, or try to prevent another person from benefiting. Heck, you may even be accused of acting in bad faith yourself, using your position as the executor of the estate to benefit you or others unfairly.
While you may be able to handle a drama-free process on your own, if you suspect that there may be complications to be had, getting legal help with the administration process of the estate will help mitigate these complications. So make sure that you do not play with fire, and at least give legal help some consideration.
What can legal help do to help keep things going smoothly?
First off, even if you have some skills to handle probate, it’s worthwhile to consider having some assistance for a variety of reasons. Handling the authentication of the last will and testament of someone who has passed, verifying the existence and value of outstanding assets, handling bills and taxes, these can be rather complex and can potentially lead to a mistake where you may get into trouble for it.
These vary between teaching you things about probate that you may not fully understand (and, in turn, will be able to handle this kind of thing better in the future). If something comes up during the process that you are not anticipating, instead of being stuck up a creek without a paddle, you will have someone on your side who can react quickly and handle this change as quickly as possible.
These kinds of things by themselves offer a load of justification for hiring Tacoma probate attorneys, but these are not the only benefits of hiring one. As we discussed in the previous section, there is a risk of drama between family members concerned about how things are being managed by you, as well as what your administration of the estate means for any possible discord in the process.
Sometimes, an errant word to family members, or a perceived slight, may cause drama where no drama was there in the first place. By having a probate attorney on your side during talks and even before them to help decide what you are going to say and present, and specifically how you are going to, it will help prevent things from blowing out of proportion.
Another way that probate attorneys help you out is to avoid the probate process altogether. Probate is sometimes unavoidable, particularly if the death was sudden and without any instructions from the person as to what should be done in the event that they died, or if there are any disputes relating to their wishes.
However, even before someone has died, a probate attorney provides a world of benefit, particularly in helping you preempt any probate process, as well as educating you on what may come up in the process.
Be it a disputed will by family members, assets including a business or other more complicated assets to grapple with, a lack of money to fully cover bills and taxes owed by the deceased, and/or an estate tax (whether a state tax applies will depend ultimately on what state you live in).
These factors will certainly be significant in whether a probate is likely to happen, and knowing this, you can plan ahead and will know whether a probate is likely or not, as well as being able to help prepare a will for the person whose estate you are administrating, thereby ensuring that their desires are laid bare.
Ultimately, nothing in the process can ever truly be called smooth given the circumstances of such a thing, but mitigating the rough parts is still an option you should consider pursuing with probate attorneys on your side.