A probate attorney specializes in dealing with the many legal issues involving wills and trusts, and the transfer of assets of the deceased. Following a death, a probate attorney will evaluate the will and trust documents signed by the deceased, and determine if the deceased person left property that mus go through probate.
If there is not much property left in the deceased person’s name, there are certain simplified probate procedures that can be used without the need for a full probate proceeding.
If the property of the deceased exceeds a certain dollar amount established under the court rules, then a probate proceeding should be initiated in order to notify creditors of the death, and give them the right to present their claims. Ordinarily, known creditors are notified in writing of the death, and a notice is published in the local legal newspaper. Four months after publication, the probate estate can be closed, and the assets distributed to the beneficiaries.
Normally, informal probate is implemented. This requires document preparation, and the filing of the same with the probate court in the county where the deceased resided. If there is a dispute concerning the validity of a will or trust, or the rights of beneficiaries to the assets of the estate or trust, then a hearing should be held and our firm can represent you in that matter.
If the deceased person died without a will or trust, and had assets in his or her name, then the probate proceedings described above are still available.
It is essential that a family of a deceased person hire a probate attorney (such as our firm) to assist in dealing with the creditors of the deceased, the transfer of property to the rightful heirs, and the other intricacies of the probate law.
We are experienced in probate, income tax, and estate tax matters.
It is always necessary that the survivors of the deceased arrange for the filing of his or her final federal, state, and local income tax returns. In certain situations, the estate itself and the deceased’s trust may have to file fiduciary tax returns.
If the deceased has a sizeable estate, or made significant transfers prior to death, federal estate, gift or generation-skipping tax returns may have to be filed, and taxes paid or deductions claimed. We have represented hundreds of estates, and have assisted in these tax matters.
If post-death matters are not handled properly, then the estate assets themselves could be subject to damages, fees, taxes, interest, and penalties, and the survivors could be held personally liable to creditors and others. We have the knowledge and experience to properly handle post-death issues and minimize he probability of future legal problems.