Probate Attorney – An Overview

Much like the medical field, the legal arena is divided into a number of different specialties. Some lawyers choose to focus on a broad area of law, while other choose a specialty and take cases that are only in their segment of the law. A probate attorney is one of these latter types of lawyers. They specialize in the legal area that concerns an individual’s estate and what happens to it after the person dies. Often they are contacted by the heirs to divide up the property and determine what to do going forth.

To understand what a probate attorney does, you have to know what the term means. It is the legal process wherein the individual’s will is filed with a court of law. The court them becomes the over-seer of the will to make sure that everything in the will is legal and it is carried out to the terms desired by the individual who wrote it. The lawyer has had training in this area of the law, and it likely to be experienced in the ways that can get all matters through the court in the quickest and most efficient manner possible.

As part of the job of the probate attorney, they will file the will and identify the assets and property that belongs to the individual who had passed on. If there are claims against the estate such as liens for debt, they will identify those and advise the family on how best to handle the situation. In many cases, there may be additional taxes owed on the property, which the lawyer will take into consideration when making his full assessment. Finally, the lawyer will oversee the distribution of the deceased’s assets and the splitting of the property. The heirs may have a great deal to say about this if there is no will to begin with.

A family or other interested parties may hire a probate attorney when there is an argument about the contents of a will. There have been cases where an individual, for example leaves all of their wealth to a charity or to a new young wife (the Anna Nicole Smith debacle was a perfect example of this) and the family cries foul. The lawyer can then come on and become an advocate for the family when the case goes to court. As this sort of law can be extremely complicated, even people who do not wish to contest any part of the will should hire a lawyer to make sure that everything moves along smoothly.

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