As an executor of a deceased loved one's estate, you not only have to prove in court that their will is valid, but you have to manage their entire estate until it's dispersed to the appropriate parties. To ensure that nothing important is overlooked, it's a good idea to hire a probate attorney who will take care of most of the legwork for you. Here are a few things to consider when consulting with and comparing potential legal representatives.
As part of the will execution process, you'll need to identify and inventory all of your loved one's belongings, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on how much property and assets need to be accounted for. It's important to make sure that any probate lawyers you consider working with are willing to take charge or possession inventory and management, so you don't have to spend the time and energy doing so yourself.
The lawyer you choose to hire should be willing to help you decide what should be sold, what is worth keeping, and how undesignated inventory should be dispersed to will recipients. You should also be able to rely on your attorney to properly disperse short-term support payments to family members who petition for it through the court.
Tax and Debt Repayments
You'll also be responsible for paying any debts or taxes that your loved one was responsible for at the time of their death, which can be stressful if their liquid assets won't cover what is owed. When consulting with potential probate lawyers, find out whether they'll help you liquidate artwork and other valuable property to get those debts paid before the property is designated to will recipients. Any lawyer that offers these services should also be willing to negotiate with other parties to lower debts and taxes as much as possible before reaching a final settlement.
Distributing the will to recipients isn't always a fun task, as some friends and family members may not agree with the property that they're bestowed with. Because of this, it's a good idea to look for a probate lawyer to work with who is willing to meet personally with each will recipient to discuss distribution. This will ensure that the process doesn't get personal between you and members of your family and will help maximize unbiased decisions and overall fairness throughout the process.
Making these considerations during the consultation process should assist in ensuring that the lawyer you decide to hire provides you with reliable services that meet your needs and expectations throughout the entire probate process. For more information about the probate process and what you can expect, talk to an attorney like John R. Lonergan, P.A.