Inheriting assets from a deceased loved one is not always easy. Although most people maintain a signed last will and testament, you may be in a situation in which your benefactor left several wills and passed away before deciding on the final one. There may be other ambiguities in how the estate is to be divided up. Things can become even more confusing if they owned properties or other forms of capital in foreign countries.
To ensure that the will of your loved one is executed according to their exact wishes you should hire a probate attorney.
Executing Their Last Will And Testament
It is the job of a probate attorney to take the beneficiary or personal representative of a beneficiary through the entire probate process. They have specialized knowledge of state law regarding the execution of wills. They are qualified to carry out a variety of activities related to the latter. Their duties include the following:
-Locating and securing both probate assets and non-probate assets
-Obtaining date of death values and appraisals of all of the decedent's property
-Preparing and filing all documents required by the probate court in a timely manner
-Collecting life insurance proceeds
-Rolling over and making appropriate elections with regard to retirement plans
-Advising on the payment of the decedent's final bills and outstanding debts
-Keeping track of the estate checking account
-Determining if any estate taxes or inheritance taxes will be due at the federal and state levels
-Addressing income tax issues
-Assisting with the sale of estate property
-Requesting court permission for various actions as required by applicable state probate laws
-Retitling the decedent's real estate into the names of the estate beneficiaries if it is not being sold
-Distributing what's left of the decedent's assets after the payment of bills and taxes to the beneficiaries
Getting The Estate Settled
Even if it is clear that you are the primary beneficiary of an estate, your work has just begun. There is much that must be legally and financially settled before you have a clear idea of what you have actually inherited. At such a time, it is important to have a counselor and guide by your side. You need someone with a deep understanding of the law and your own position.
Working with a lawyer with specialized knowledge of probate issues will give you an advantage. You will be able to avoid missteps that may end up costing you a lot of money. You will also be able to effectively fend off any legal challenges that come your way from other relatives or interested parties.
The road to finally getting the estate properly settled can be long and difficult; but the process can be made simpler and much less strenuous if you work with someone who has the right expertise and experience. The lawyer you work with should be intelligent, knowledgeable, and tenacious. They should be a determined fighter for your rights as a beneficiary, and they should be able to see off all challenges to that position.