One of the hardest times any of us experience in our lives is after the loss of a loved one. When you are named as the personal representative (executor) of a loved one’s estate, you not only need to mourn, but handle the probate process. The easiest way to do this is to find the right probate attorney. With all you have going on, that can feel overwhelming. It is not something many people have experience doing. The first thing you should know is that a probate attorney is there to help you. However, you want to feel comfortable with and have confidence in the one you choose. Here are some things that may help you during this difficult time.
You Can Have an Initial Consultation with One or More Probate Attorneys
You will be paying the probate attorney you choose for their assistance. Because of that, you want to feel comfortable with the one you choose. You also want one with experience handling estates similar to the type of estate you are tasked as the personal representative. If you do not feel comfortable with the first one you meet with, thank them for their time and call someone else.
The More Information You Have, the Smoother the Process
Hopefully your loved one planned well and left you with clear and detailed information regarding their debts and assets. When you have your first meeting, the more information you can bring with you regarding the estate, the better. Assuming your loved one had a will or trust, you must bring that to the meeting. Additionally, the probate attorney needs one certified copy of the death certificate in order to start probate.
Distribution of an Estate is a Process
Unlike what is often portrayed on television, the distribution of the estate is not simply a reading of the will and handing out the valuable assets. There are many steps involved. Some estate distributions can take a year or more. Obviously, a smaller estate with few debts or assets can more easily be handled. Because of the time it takes and the fact that you, as the executor, have a lot of work to do, you are entitled to be compensated for your work. And yes, even with the help of a probate attorney, you will spend time settling the estate. Because of this, you are either entitled to a percentage set by the state (based on the estate’s value), or the deceased may pay you more if it is stated in the will or trust documents.
Let Wagstaff & Pitelis Help You
If you are looking for a probate or estate attorney in Largo or Pinellas County, call us. Our compassionate team can help you through this difficult time. We will do all we can to move the process along quickly and smoothly in accordance with your loved one’s wishes. You can call us at (727) 584-8182 or fill out our contact form for your initial appointment.