If you are dealing with the recent loss of a loved one, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Grief is challenging and can take a toll on every part of your life. It is important to take time to heal and to reach out to others who can make the process easier. One such person is a probate attorney.
The process of divvying up and distributing the deceased person’s assets can be stressful and taxing. A good, experienced probate attorney can help you navigate this process. They can also help you create a will to make it easier for your loved ones to manage your estate. Read on for five key reasons to work with a probate attorney.
1. Drafting a Proper, Legal Will
Writing your own will is never a good idea. There are multitudes of legal steps you need to go through to ensure your will is proper and binding and will not be challenged after your passing. A poorly drafted will can cause stress and confusion for your family, so it’s best not to take a chance on getting it right without expert knowledge. If you have assets you hope to leave to specific heirs, you need to work with an experienced probate attorney in your area. They will ensure your wishes are honored through all necessary documents.
2. A Quick, Efficient Probate Process
The prospect of going to probate court may seem daunting. Court is generally a stressful experience, and when you’re dealing with potential family conflict, assets, and debts, it can be even more stressful. In some cases, the probate process takes years. This is especially likely if the executor is unprepared. Documents, financial information, and signatures of heirs must be assembled and submitted in accordance with certain deadlines. Court dates may need to be rescheduled, family members may contest the will, and a multitude of other events could happen that complicate the process.
As an executor, a lot has been placed on your shoulders, especially if there are a lot of assets to distribute. You want to make sure you are doing everything legally and properly every step of the way. A probate attorney can ensure you have everything you need to keep the process of contacting heirs, notifying creditors, settling accounts, and valuing assets moving forward smoothly and quickly for a positive outcome for everyone.
3. Minimal Potential for Disputes
When multiple family members are involved in the division assets, things get complicated. Sometimes, one person will contest a will or challenge an administrator or executor for control. If the will has not been drafted properly and with great attention to detail, it could be easier to challenge. An estate must be handled properly from the time of the decedent’s passing. Without professional help, creditors and heirs are more likely to get involved and cause problems.
An experienced probate lawyer will make sure all disputes are settled early in the process in order to keep things moving at a steady pace. Failing to take all of the legal steps associated with managing an estate can, at worst, lead to a lawsuit. Your wills and estates lawyer can help you avoid situations such as this and smoothly wrap up the probate process.
4. Protection for the Executor
If you are the executor or administrator, you have been tasked with a major responsibility. Depending on the size of the estate, you may be in charge of distributing tens of thousands of dollars-worth of assets. This is not to mention the personal responsibility you likely feel to honor the wishes of the decedent and ensure their family and friends are taken care of and feel respected. Beyond this, people make mistakes. If you, as the executor, make an error marshaling assets, settling debts, or obtaining the necessary court authority, giving proper notice, or creating reports, you could be held personally liable. It’s best to try to avoid this situation all together by working with a probate attorney who can oversee every step of the process.
5. Less Stress Overall
Both estate planning and probate can be extremely time-consuming and stressful. Often, difficult decisions have to be made. Working with an impartial third party who has only your best interest in mind, however, is a great way to secure a positive outcome. Rest assured you are being guided by an expert who will make sure every I is dotted and T is crossed.
The legal processes surrounding allocating assets require lots of documentation, multiple court dates, and a lot of stressful little details. Partner with a probate attorney you can trust to take the work off your desk and the burden off your shoulders.
Contact a Maryland Probate Attorney
If you need a lawyer in Maryland to help your draft a will or manage an estate, contact Blackford & Flohr. Our experienced wills and trusts attorneys can help you with any element of the estate planning or probate process. Call (410) 647-6677.