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Probate Attorney

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Probate Attorney

Probate is one way that a person’s assets and property is distributed after he dies. If there is a valid will, the estate is transferred the way the individual outlined it in his will. If there is no will, state law specifies who receives the person’s property.

Should I Hire an Attorney to Help Me Distribute the Estate?

Yes. Going through probate is a complicated process. Someone may contest the will or the fact that you are an executor. Remember, an executor does not pay the probate attorney’s fees. The fees are paid by the estate. 

How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Probate Attorney?

The price differs depending on what happens after the filing and how complicated the legal work becomes.

How Many Steps Are Involved in the Probate Process?

Every probate process has two steps:

  1. Paying all debts
  2. Transfer assets to all beneficiaries

How Does the Probate Process Start?

After a person dies, the named executor files paperwork to show the will is valid. The executor is sworn in as the deceased’s personal representative. A list of debts and property is also given to the court.

How Is Property Distributed?

Generally, an estate is distributed in the following order:

  1. Money paid for administering the estate, such as appraise fees and any legal advertising
  2. Family allowances
  3. Funeral expenses
  4. Debts
  5. Taxes
  6. Any remaining claims

All remaining claims refers to any money in the estate going to the beneficiaries and heirs.

Can My Attorney Ask the Court to Release Money Before Probate is Complete?

In some jurisdictions, immediate family members can request the court give the money from the estate. This money is considered short-terms funds to financially support family members. 

What Kind of Fee Arrangements Can I Make with a Probate Attorney?

Attorneys charge by:

  • Percentage of the estate’s value
  • Flat fee, which is the most common fee arrangement
  • Hourly rate, which depends on the attorney’s experience and training

Should I Contact a Probate Attorney?

If you have legal questions about the probate process or estate planning generally, you should consult with an estate attorney. Your attorney will answers your question and guide you through the probate process to ensure that your legal rights are upheld.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 05-18-2015 05:22 PM PDT

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