There is generally no incremental learning curve involved in estate planning and everything is new to most individuals when they first start to engage in the process. Before they begin to look into it a lot of people don’t realize that a last will is not something that is just passed around among your loved ones in private. It is a legally binding document that must go through the process of probate.
Probate could be defined as the court supervised process of estate administration. If you look at it from an overview, your estate is not something that is necessarily only of interest to your heirs. If you have any outstanding debts or if there are claims against you that have not yet been resolved your estate must address these issues under the watchful eye of the court. In addition, if anyone wanted to contest your will they would do so before the probate court. When you consider the above you can see why it is important for the executor of the estate to retain the services of a probate attorney.
In addition, even if there are no particular legal challenges the executor that you choose is probably not going to have any experience with the probate process. He or she may not know where to begin, and this is another reason why it is important to involve a probate attorney. This relationship can actually begin when you first identify an estate planning attorney and put your estate plan in place. He or she will help you draw up a last will with the realities of probate in mind, and if you so choose this same attorney can guide your executor through the probate process when that time arrives.
Without the proper representation probate can be time-consuming and potentially confusing to the executor, so if you want to make sure that your wishes are carried out to the letter in an efficient and timely manner a probate lawyer is a must.
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