How to Deal with Probate Guide
Should I hire a real estate attorney?
The majority of probates are supervised by real estate attorneys now. Most states even require an executer to hire an attorney in order to know how to deal with probate, but some states don’t require a real estate attorney.
Many people who know how to deal with probate are experienced in the legal field themselves. However, some people out of the field choose to handle the probate process as well. The main advantage in doing a probate yourself is saving money. Probate lawyers charge a contingency based upon a certain percentage of the estate, and this value can sometimes be a significant percentage. If you are knowledgeable of the process, you may also be able to save a great amount of time instead of running everything through a lawyer.
If you have any doubt in knowing how to deal with probate as an executer, you should hire a lawyer immediately. If the correct steps aren’t taken, certain assets can be turned over to the state, and no family wants to see estate items turned over to the state. Most family members hire a real estate attorney while they are writing up their living will and last testament anyway. The same lawyer helps the decedent’s heirs through the entire process following the death.
If you are confident on how to deal with probate, there are number of steps you want to take immediately following the death. You need to research specific steps from locating the will and last testament all the way to the disbursement of assets after all debts are paid. Some of these steps include:
1) Making a list of all beneficiaries and all of their contact information
2) Making a complete and thorough list of all the decedent’s assets from bonds and bank statements to vehicle titles
3) Making a list of all the decedent’s liabilities from mortgages and property taxes to credit card bills and utility fees
4) Submitting the right documents to a judge
5) Making copies of the probate orders
6) Paying debts and distributing assets
If you know how to deal with probate, the hardest step of the process is sometimes gathering of all proper documents to submit to the judge. This part is usually the job of the real estate attorney, and some of the following documents include:
• Petition of Administration
• Oath of Acceptance of Executor
• Appointment of Resident Agent
• Jointers, Waivers, and Consents
• Order Admitting Will to Probate
• Petition to Waive Bond
In addition to the documents submitted above, you also need to submit an inheritance tax form. The form involves some difficult steps. Moreover, if you know how to deal with probate, the judge still has to accept the application and have you swear under oath as proof of identity. The judge will also give you a whole list of rules and regulations when the probate starts, and the probate doesn’t end just after the last assets are distributed. You must usually keep records for at least 12 years if you oversee probate yourself.