A probate attorney, also often referred to as an estate attorney, is a legal professional who handles the process of probate, which is the legal process of administering a deceased person's estate. This process can include:
Proving in court that a deceased person's will is valid (typically a routine matter)
Identifying and inventorying the deceased person's property
Having the property appraised
Paying off debts and taxes
Distributing the remaining property as the will (or state law, if there's no will) directs.
Probate attorneys may be hired to assist an executor of an estate (a person appointed by the will to carry out the decedent's wishes) with managing these tasks, or they may be hired to oversee the entire process if the executor needs help or if there is a dispute among the beneficiaries.
Probate attorneys can advise on estate planning strategies, including drafting wills, setting up trusts, and assisting with power of attorney arrangements. This side of their work aims to help people manage their assets during their lifetime, prepare for potential incapacity, and ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes after their death.
Probate attorneys specialize in the complex laws governing the transfer of property after a person's death and can provide valuable legal advice and services during a difficult time.
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