A probate lawyer is an attorney who is responsible for handling the estates of someone after their death, or in guiding a personal representative through the probate process. They are often also called an estate lawyer or estate attorney. An estate is usually all assets that are held under the decedent’s name, this may include money, property, taxes, and debts. Because probate laws can differ depending on the location, it may be beneficial to seek out a probate lawyer in Austin if you need help navigating through the estate of a deceased loved one.
Will you need to hire a probate attorney? That depends on the situation. If the deceased left a clear will, you live in a state with simple probate laws, and all of the family members involved are getting along well, you may be able to navigate the probate process without hiring an Austin probate attorney. If some of these things are not true, or if the estate contains uncommon assets or unusual complexity, a probate attorney will be very helpful in guiding you through the process.
After you find and hire a probate attorney in Austin, there are many things he or she will do to assist and advise you. They will likely begin by locating and securing the probate assets and the non-probate assets, helping to organize and assess the estate. This may include appraising all of the property owned by the decedent, collecting the life insurance proceeds, and advising on the final bills or outstanding debts of the person who has passed away.
After they have done this, they will complete all of the necessary paperwork and the required actions in regards to the decedent’s accounts. This could mean items such as changing elections on retirement plans, preparing and filing all required documents, and looking into any estate taxes or inheritance taxes that may be owed.
If there are any disputes among personal representatives or beneficiaries, a probate attorney will work to settle these issues to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Depending on the will and estate, your attorney will then retitle the real estate into the names of the beneficiaries if it is not being sold; or assist with the sale of the property if it will be sold. After all bills and taxes have been paid, they will distribute what is left of the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries.
While some people are able to handle the steps of probate without an attorney, many people find it helpful to lean on an expert with probate experience, especially during a time of grief. This is especially true if it is a larger or more complicated estate, as there may be many different legal channels to go through to make sure everything is properly documented, filed, and accessed.
If you think you may be in need of a probate attorney or simply want to discuss it with someone, contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas in Austin today for a consultation. The consultation with a probate or estate planning attorney is $20.00 for up to 30 minutes, if necessary. Our team of referral counselors will listen to your case, and then refer you to a qualified, professional probate attorney if it is needed.