Probate Attorney Bedford, TX
In most cases, probate is a pretty straightforward process. After someone has died, if they do not have a surviving spouse, their home, car, bank accounts, and other assets need to go somewhere to someone. A person's assets will go through probate if they only have a will, or if they die without a will or die intestate.
A probate court oversees the process of gathering a person's assets, settling their debts, and distributing their estate to their heirs. Unfortunately, the process can be full of complications and can take a long time. In some cases, the process can take over two years.
A Bedford probate attorney at Mitchell Nachtigal Law can guide you through this complex legal process to reduce stress and frustration and make this probate as fast and as efficient as possible.
The Probate Process
Probate is a process in which the court grants the estate's representative the authority to represent the estate legally and act on its behalf. This is a multi-step process that involves:
· Distributing assets to the estate's beneficiaries and heirs
· Paying all taxes and debts
· The sale of any estate property
· Transferring ownership of the deceased party's assets into the name of the estate
· Notifying the deceased party's creditors and heirs that the will has been submitted
· Submitting a last will and testament for review to ensure that it meets the state's requirements.
What Does a Probate Attorney Do?
Estate attorneys specialize in estate administration and are experienced in the probate process. An experienced probate attorney can guide you every step of the way.
A probate attorney will:
· Accompany you to court appearances
· Advise you on each step of the process
· Complete and file all necessary paperwork
· A probate attorney can also advise the executor on how to proceed and represent the estate once they have been appointed
The probate attorney's day-to-day responsibilities vary significantly depending on whether a person passed away without a will. Attorneys can assist with a variety of responsibilities throughout the process and can help identify and secure assets. Attorneys can also help obtain appraisals for any of the deceased party's property.
Beyond that, a probate lawyer can advise on the payment of the deceased person's outstanding debts and bills and can keep track of the estate's checking accounts. They can also manage the payment of any relevant inheritance and estate taxes and ensure any income tax issues are addressed.
Do I Need a Probate Lawyer?
As you can see, a probate attorney can help with a wide range of responsibilities. They can make this type of overwhelming process simpler and stress-free.
Now that you know more about the role of a probate attorney, you're probably wondering if and when you would need one for your probate issues.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself that can help you determine whether you need to hire the services of a probate attorney.
Can the Decedent’s Assets Be Transferred Outside of Probate?
If the decedent planned ahead, you may not need to handle certain issues in court. Common assets like survivorship community and joint tenancy can often be handled outside of court.
Is the Estate Large Enough to Pay Off All Debts?
You may not need an attorney if the estate has enough money to pay off all debts, funeral costs, medical bills, and income taxes. However, if the estate isn't large enough to pay off all debts, then you should contact a probate attorney as soon as possible to help you determine how to pay those debts off. You should never pay off any debts without first speaking to an experienced probate attorney.
Are Federal Estate Taxes Owed?
If the estate owes taxes, you need an attorney who is familiar with that process to assist you.
Working with a Probate Attorney
Hiring a probate attorney can help you navigate this complex process as smoothly as possible. However, there are some tips you should follow when you're working with a probate attorney:
Ask any questions you have in advance and communicate often with your attorney
Stay on top of the progress of your case
Provide your attorney with all the necessary documents including tax returns, insurance policies, deeds, and the will.
Following these tips can ensure a stress-free and smooth probate process.
Contact a Texas Probate Lawyer
Dealing with the death of a loved one can be an overwhelming and complicated experience, especially if there's a mistake involved. A Bedford Texas probate attorney can walk you through the probate process in the most painless way possible and ensure you feel secure during this stressful time. If you're currently struggling through the probate process, contact Mitchell Nachtigal Law today to schedule a consultation. Our probate attorneys will take the time to explain the process, your role in it, and help you make an informed decision regarding your probate representation needs.