What Probate Attorneys do and Why You Might Want One
Losing a loved one is never easy, even when death is expected due to age or illness, and the estate is in order. Finding yourself named as the executor of the loved one’s estate, whether you knew about the responsibility in advance or not, adds a new layer of stress to the loss’s emotional distress.
More than likely, this is new ground, very few people act as executor for multiple estates. As such, you may feel anxiety and tension. It may feel disrespectful to respond quickly to execute to will and distribute the assets of the deceased. However, you were chosen for this position because you were trusted to represent your loved one and carry out their wishes to the best of your capacity, and you don’t want to let them down. Probating a will, that is verifying that the will is legal and the deceased person’s intentions are carried out, can be complicated. Still, you may be able to handle it on your own with the court’s supervision when it is a small estate, and there are no challenges from family members.
When there are challenges to the will, from family members or other invested parties, or complex divisions that you are unsure of, it is in your best interest to have an attorney experienced in probate by your side.
What is A Provo Probate Attorney?
A probate attorney is an experienced estate lawyer practicing in Utah and will help you go through all the complicated aspects of Utah’s laws regarding probate. If you can anticipate, or you are already experiencing probate problems, you should hire the probate attorney as she will help interpret the will, explain legal terms in understandable language, and walk you through the process to avoid costly mistakes. You don’t have to worry about attorney fees; the estate pays the attorney. If you do not hire an attorney now, you may make costly mistakes that will require you to spend more money in the future.
A Utah Probate Lawyers simplify executing a will
Resolve family conflicts over the estate
It is common for family members to argue amongst themselves during the probate process—differences of opinion, conflicts of interest, or greed. The executor often finds themselves caught up in the drama, with very little direction about how to resolve the issues without stepping on anyone’s toes. Family may also accuse the executor of incompetence or mismanagement. This is why hiring a probate attorney becomes important for some estates. A probate attorney is experienced in resolving conflicts among family members and between family members and the executor.
Speed Up the Process
The probate process is known to be lengthy. While some estates can close within a few months, some can last years. With a probate attorney assisting, the process goes faster. The attorney’s experience with the language and systems of probate and their network of professional contacts within the court system can make navigating probate much quicker and more comfortable for a new executor.
File documents accurately
The probate process involves a lot of document filing and formalities. If these documents are filed inaccurately by the executor, they will be rejected by the court. This slows down probate more than almost anything else we have seen. When you have an experienced probate lawyer working with you, they will help you file documents properly, so the process progresses smoothly.
Handle Debts and Taxes
Before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries, estate debts, obligations, and taxes must be cleared. An attorney can oversee this process to ensure that all creditors are paid, tax returns are filed and submitted, and all taxes due are paid on time. Unfiled taxes incur penalties and fines that will have to be paid by the estate or the beneficiaries. Since few executors are comfortable handling creditors and state/federal estate taxes, a probate attorney can help avoid any mistakes that may put the family in a precarious position in the future.
If a family member, beneficiary, or creditor objects to anything during the probate process, they can file a lawsuit. In addition to the standard cost and time of probate, lawsuits add to the cost and can drag on for months. When loved ones are suing each other, relationships can be destroyed. Having an attorney represent you in handling the probate process will greatly decrease the chances of lawsuits being filed.
If you decide to hire a probate attorney, we would be happy to assist you. If you are probating an estate on your own considering hiring an attorney, we offer free initial consultations,, and can provide you with some help along your way.
Richard Sheffield is a founding partner and the head of Fillmore Spencer’s business law practice. Richard has helped Utah County residents through the Utah Probate process for more than 20 years. His expertise and compassion uniquely qualify him to be of assistance and comfort during the difficult and emotional tasks relating to executing a will. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your specific situation, contact Richard and a Fillmore Spencer Probate Attorney will be in touch soon.