Handling legalities after a loved one passes away can be a difficult task. Being an executor, administrator or trustee of an estate or trust is a large responsibility; one that many people find themselves unprepared for and require assistance to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Duensing Law is a probate administration attorney in Toronto offering discreet, confidential, and cost-effective legal assistance to help get you through difficult times and enjoy peace of mind. If you’re worried about the expenses associated with probate administration, rest assured Duensing Law delivers quality services at a fee that is fair to you.
Let’s take a look at why you should enlist the services of a probate lawyer to help you through the estate administration process and what they can do for you.
What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?
A probate lawyer, also known as an estate lawyer or estate attorney, is a licensed legal professional who advises the beneficiaries of a deceased person’s estate on how to settle the person’s final affairs. This can include things like dealing with property, settling debts and distributing assets.
Probate lawyers are primarily responsible for assisting clients with the general administering of a decedent’s will or estate, and providing assistance even if there was no legal will made. The court procedure provides formal approval of the deceased’s Last Will and Testament and appoints the official executor. A probate lawyer often helps guide the executor through this process from beginning to end.
The steps required for settling an estate differ based on whether the decedent died with or without a valid Last Will and Testament, and a probate lawyer is experienced in dealing with both situations.
Can’t I Just Handle the Affairs of the Estate Alone?
While the executor can handle most elements of the probate process on their own, in some cases, dealing with the estate can become very complex, not to mention very stressful for a single person to oversee.
Trying to navigate through the process alone can result in a lot of questions and uncertainties. It’s unwise to take a gamble with a process of this magnitude. Having the assistance of a probate lawyer can help you get all your questions answered and keep you well-informed throughout the process.
In addition, the presence of a probate lawyer can prove invaluable when conflicts between beneficiaries arise, when the estate includes complex assets such as business interests, or when the decedent didn’t leave a sufficient amount of assets to pay all their debts.
Probate lawyers also understand that death and estate administration can be a time of heightened emotion for families, and are able to provide practical, sound advice on how to administer the estate as quickly and tactfully as possible, so nothing requires revisiting.
How a Probate Lawyer Can Help You
A probate lawyer’s main task is to assist you with all matters concerning the estate settlement of a loved one after their passing. In general, there are three main responsibilities that a probate lawyer can assist you with:
An attorney can assist the executor to locate and secure both probate assets and non-probate assets that the deceased had, and determine their values through appraisal if necessary. The attorney will also assist the executor in collecting any life insurance proceeds if the estate is named as beneficiary, and taking appropriate actions with retirement plans.
Eventually, the decedent’s real estate and other assets will have to be retitled in the names of the estate beneficiaries if they aren’t being sold. The lawyer also takes care of the paperwork to retitle assets in the beneficiary’s name. Once this is done, the executor can distribute what’s left of the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries after all bills and taxes have been paid.
A probate lawyer will advise on the payment of the decedent’s final bills and any outstanding debts and will prepare and file all related documents required by the court relating to these payments.
The executor must keep track of the estate’s checking account, and the attorney may help oversee this as well, in addition to determining if any estate taxes will be due, and assist with payment.
The attorney may be hired to act as a mediator to settle any potential disputes that arise between the personal representative and the estate’s beneficiaries and assist with the sale of estate property by requesting permission from the court for such transactions.
If you have any questions about the probate process or require the assistance of a qualified lawyer to settle an estate, schedule an appointment with Duensing Law today. We provide affordable legal services for all your probate and estate settlement needs.