If youve been named as a personal representative (i.e. executor) in a loved ones will and that loved one has recently died, you may need help probating the estate. Or, if a loved one recently died, without a will, you may need help probating that estate. If so, consult with a qualified probate attorney. Attorneys who help people with estate planning matters also help people with probate matters.
Its Wise to Hire a Probate Attorney
Legally, as a personal representative, you can go it alone; but, its unwise to do so for three main reasons. First, probate is a ton of work; second, probate has a lot of legal hoops; and, third, if you mess up, youre personally liable. This means your assets are on the line and can be seized if you make a mistake.
How to Find a Good Probate Attorney
If youre not sure where to turn to find a good probate attorney, ask your friends, neighbors, CPA, or financial advisor for a referral. If theyve had a good experience with a particular probate attorney, its likely that you will too. You can also Google for a probate attorney in your geographic area such as probate attorney Davenport Iowa. Many probate attorneys will offer a brief meet and greet so that you can chat and determine whether youd be a good fit for one another.
How Your Probate Attorney Helps You
Probate is a court supervised process of validating the will (if there is one), appointing the personal representative, and winding down the decedents financial life. Your probate attorney will know the ins and outs of court filings, required paperwork, paying last bills, filing taxes, communicating with beneficiaries, appraising assets, protecting and managing assets, and making distributions.
Your probate attorney will answer your questions and address your concerns. If you are responsible for probating an estate, consult with a qualified probate attorney.