As the adult child of elderly parents, you had likely been aware for some time that one or both of your parents are nearing the end of their lives. However, the impact of a parent's death is never something that one can fully be ready for or expect, regardless of how much pre-planning takes place.
When a parent dies, the process of distributing his or her assets begins. Even if your parent had a will indicating wishes regarding assets, the process is not as simple as it may seem. You may be wondering whether you need an attorney to assist you, especially if there is family conflict.
What is a probate attorney?
A probate attorney, also known as an estate attorney, represents the personal representative of an estate as it moves through the probate process. There are many steps that take place in this process and many complicated financial transactions and matters that must be settled. Tax matters, retirement funds, life insurance proceeds, and property appraisals are only a few items often included on the long list of tasks that must be handled in terms of estate management following a death. A probate attorney helps clients to settle these matters both in and out of court.
How do I know if I need a probate attorney?
The simple answer to the question of whether you need a probate attorney is to have a legal consultation to find out. Not all estates need to be probated; however, you are likely not in a position to determine whether your parent's estate is one that needs to be probated, and that is where a skilled estate attorney comes in. A consultation can help you determine the next steps to take.
A qualified probate attorney can help ease your stress by handling the complicated legal matters inherent in asset division following a death. This assistance can lift a large burden from your shoulders so that you can devote your time and energy to helping yourself and your family through the difficult grieving process.
Since estates that require probate involve court matters, the wisest step following your parent's death is to contact a probate attorney for a legal assessment of your situation. Getting the right legal advice can help you avoid critical mistakes following your mother or father's death.