Whether you’ve recently faced the death of a loved one with or without a valid will, you should hire a probate attorney, also known as an estate attorney, to help with the deceased’s estate. In Florida, there are different processes, and the right one depends on the value of the estate, how long ago the death occurred, and if there was a valid will at the time of death. Working with an estate attorney will help you not only determine which process you need to follow but also which assets are subject to probate and which are not.
What is a Probate or Estate Attorney?
The terms can be used interchangeably but refer to the same person. A lawyer has to complete mentoring, specific education and special licensing to claim status as a probate or estate attorney. The process of settling an estate is different from winning a case in court. They must know how to settle the estate and final affairs of the deceased within the law. In most cases, the named executor hires the attorney to help with the process. If there isn’t a will, anyone who believes they would be a beneficiary would be able to hire the attorney.
What a Probate Attorney Does
Although every estate is different and has a different beneficiary situation, hiring an attorney to assist during this time is a good choice to help you through the process. Here are a few of the things that your probate attorney will do for you during this time:
- Determine which assets fall into probate and which are non-probate assets
- Obtain appraisals for the home as well as other items
- Submit paperwork to the courts
- Handle all accounts including IRAs, 401(k)s, retirement plans, life insurance as well as checking and savings accounts
- File and pay any federal and state taxes out of the estate funds
- Settle disputes among beneficiaries
If you’ve doubted the need for an estate attorney during the probate of your loved one, this brief list should have shed more light on the benefits they bring to the process. The value they provide is greater than the fees charged. Wagstaff Law Office has qualified attorneys on staff to assist with the probate process. Please call us at (727) 584-8182 and allow our compassionate team to assist you through this difficult time.