Probate & Estate Administration: Does It Really Require a Law Firm?
As adults, we constantly deal with paperwork, but not all of it requires a lawyer. Just think about these three scenarios:
- Applying for a mortgage loan. It’s a lot of work, but you probably didn’t need a lawyer to get the job done.
- Having and caring for a child. This involves a ton of paperwork, such as adding your child as a beneficiary on your health insurance and sending your child’s immunization records to schools and daycare centers.
- Business planning. In business arrangements, trust litigation is key. When you are dealing with a real person for business transactions, it greatly minimizes the need to have legal help, especially once you have a solid process in place.
As you can see, you do not need to hire a lawyer to handle each legal matter. An example is when buying a house or seeking a child’s legal parents. If the house is located in a zone with good comprehensive estate plans, you will avoid the hassle of the real estate litigation process. Also, most people establish themselves as the legal parents of their children without hiring a lawyer.
Equally, you don’t necessarily need an estate attorney to handle any estate legal issues concerning every little aspect of estate planning. A background in estate planning isn’t mandatory. However, drafting of wills is not a walk in the park. In some cases, possible inheritors of your property may want to be involved or may even exert undue influence about who should get what. But unless your case is very complex, you can probably get by without probate litigation.
Similarly, it is possible to complete the probate process and settle the estate of a recently deceased family member without forking over lots of money to California probate law firms or any other legal process. There are plenty of resources to get you through estate taxes and other nuances of the process, even in difficult times. It is, however, a wise investment to hire a California legal document assistant with a great law practice to prepare your forms for probate law firms.
What Does a California Probate Law Firms Do?
If it is not necessary to hire a probate attorney, then why do California probate
law firms exist? The short answer is that some people still need them for more nuanced cases involving creation of wills, asset protection, trust administration, and the like.
Not everyone is familiar with probate matters, especially concerning large estates with many assets at stake. Hence, a layperson may need to make an initial consultation with an attorney, either by reaching out to them through phone calls or leaving a note for them through a contact form. Let’s take a look at a few scenarios that may elicit contacting a probate attorney.
Debt Collection and Inheritance Distribution
Part of the purpose of the probate process is to allow creditors and long-lost relatives to attempt to collect the debts. This could either be in the form of estate taxes or inheritance that they believe they are owed from the estate. A probate lawyer can provide great assistance during such a process with the goals in mind of providing the best services.
Sometimes families get into intense conflicts about inheritance during a wealthy relative’s final illness. For example, one sibling might try to isolate their ailing, widowed father from the other siblings. When the family patriarch dies, the other siblings might allege that the sibling who isolated their father while his health was failing pressured him into modifying his will in a way that did not truly reflect his wishes. They may, for example, make themselves a joint owner of their father’s property so they can be the sole inheritor.
This is a genuine legal dispute in which it makes sense to hire a lawyer with experience providing a variety of probate services, but undue influence (the scenario described above, where someone pressures or manipulates a terminally ill person into changing his or her will) is only one issue that can complicate probate administration.
Other Common Issues
California Probate law firms can help clients in estate disputes. If any of these issues apply to the estate you are representing in probate, you may want to consider expert help.
- The deceased person used to spend part of the year in California and part of the year in another state, owning property in both states. Therefore, there is some question about which state’s courts should handle the probate of the estate. This is a typical example of estate distribution across states case.
- Someone alleges that the will has been forged.
- You want to reopen an estate that has already settled.
- The deceased person’s debts exceed their assets.
When Are California Probate Law Firms Unnecessary?
By contrast, if you are just following the court’s instructions to satisfy the requirements of probate, and there are no disputes, then paying a lawyer’s hourly rate is a waste of money. This is especially true if the lawyer is going to farm most of the work out to paralegals while still charging a hefty hourly rate.
Do not waste money on legal services you do not need! You probably do not need California probate law firms to help settle an estate, but you do need a legal document assistant. Choose A People’s Choice
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Excellent customer service is our mission. We’ve successfully helped countless clients identify which forms to complete for estate planning and probate, then complete those forms thoroughly and accurately the first time. Call us now at 800-747-2780 to get your probate done right.