Three Ways A Probate Attorney Can Help You

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The death of a loved one can be a very emotional experience. If the deceased names you as the executor of the estate, you must begin to put the estate to rest before you have time to grieve. Depending on the size and contents of the estate, this can be an overwhelming experience. Fortunately, a probate attorney can not only walk you through the process but will assist you in other ways. Here are a few of them. 

Interpreting The Will Or Codicil

Wills are legal documents that convey the deceased's desires about their property. While wills vary in language and length, there are four essential components a will must meet. These are:

  • Be Valid — What creates a valid and executable will varies from state to state, and state laws govern its interpretation. 
  • Created By the Testator — The owner or testator must make the will for it to be valid. The owner or testator must also be of sound mind at the time of the document creation.
  • Offer Distribution Guidance — The testator must offer some guidance regarding the disposal or distribution of their estate. 
  • Executed After Death — Most wills cannot be executed or are not effective until after the testator's death. 

Reading the words in a will is not the same as interpreting the will. Many of these documents are drafted by attorneys or by using language found in other legal documents. This legal language can be confusing to the average person.

Interpreting the will means translating the document's language and determining what the testator intended when they drafted the initial will. Interpretations can sometimes be where differences occur among heirs. A probate attorney can assist in interpreting the language in the will and any legal ramifications the language may imply. 

Filing Creditors Notices

An important step that an executor must perform is to file a notice to creditors. You must file this notice within a specific period that varies by state. 

Filing notice allows creditors to file outstanding debts against the estate before liquidating the estate. A probate lawyer can file this notice for you. They will know the language it needs to include, how long the filing needs to be, and how long creditors have to respond. 

Paying Creditors

Once you or your attorney post the notices, the estate must pay any debts filed against the estate before distributions take place. Your probate attorney can review the debt's validity and pay these creditors for you. It's one less thing you need to handle. 

Talk to a probate attorney for more help.