A probate attorney Allentown, PA residents rely on understands that when you are dealing with the death of a loved one, trying to address the details of their estate while struggling with grief and sadness can feel emotionally overwhelming. It is difficult to learn about and focus on probate matters when you are struggling to deal with your loss. This is why it can be critical to have an estate planning attorney assist you through the entire process.
Most estate planning attorneys have extensive experience in handling complex estate issues and are well versed in the ever-evolving federal and state probate laws. No matter what type of legal challenges your family may be facing, your attorney will guide you every step of the way.
Probate is the process by which an estate is administered. Typically, upon a person’s death, the executor of the estate (the individual who the decedent named to oversee the estate) will file the will with the probate court. An estate planning attorney can assist in this process to ensure that all of the laws and legal rules are adhered to. If there are mistakes made by the executor during this process, it may cause a delay in moving forward with the process and settling the estate.
As this process moves forward, any debts the decedent had will be paid by the executor. All asset distribution will also be done by the executor. If any parties have objections to the will, they can file a motion to contest as long as the estate is still being probated. This also applies to anyone who claims that the decedent owed an outstanding debt to them.
The court will then decide whether or not any of these claims are valid and rule accordingly. However the court rules is exactly what the executor must follow when distributing assets or paying debts, even if it is different from what the original will stated.
In the event the decedent had no will or any other estate planning documents when they died, the state refers to that as dying intestate. In these situations, the intestacy laws of the state where the person lived will determine how assets and property are divided.
Assistance from an Estate Planning Attorney
How can an estate planning attorney help executors during the probate process? Here are just a few of the ways:
- Provide sound advice and advise as to how to proceed, as well as how to address any issues that arise during the probate process;
- Provide legal representation for the estate should a party or parties contest the will;
- Provide notification to all creditors of the decedent and determine what the actual debts owed are;
- Identify all debtors of the estate and recover debts owed;
- Work to minimize the tax liability of the estate as much as possible; and
- Provide legal representation against false claims filed against the estate.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Klenk Law for their insight into estate planning.