At some point in your life there is a good chance you will be involved in the probate of someone’s estate. Whether you are involved merely because you are a beneficiary or heir, or are involved because you were appointed executor of the estate, you will likely be exposed to probate at some time in your life. If you are not familiar with the probate process, you may need legal advice in order to know how to proceed. This is particularly true if you were appointed executor in the decedent’s Last Will and Testament or because you have volunteered to be the personal representative if no Will was executed prior to the decedent’s death. We are often asked if our law firm handles probate. The simple answer is “yes” we do assist with probate.
If you were appointed executor, or volunteered to be the personal representative, you will undoubtedly need the assistance of an estate planning attorney throughout the probate process unless the decedent’s estate was very small. As the executor/PR you will be responsible for numerous legalities that go along with the probate of an estate, starting with preparing the documents required to open the probate in the appropriate court. You will also be required to provide the proper legal notice to potential creditors of the estate as well as locate heirs of the estate if the decedent died intestate, or without leaving behind a Will. As executor/PR you must also locate, inventory, value, and manage all estate assets. The more valuable and complex the estate assets are the more complicated and time-consuming the probate process will generally be. An error made by the executor/PR can cost an estate a significant amount of time and money which is one reason why most executors/PRs retain the services of an experienced estate planning attorney to assist.
If you are a beneficiary or heir of the estate and you wish to challenge the Will left by the decedent you will also need legal representation. To challenge a Will you must have sufficient legal grounds to show that the Will is invalid. Simply being unhappy with the terms of the Will is not enough.
Whether you are a beneficiary, heir, executor, or personal representative, The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. can help you through the probate process.