For those with wealth to pass down to their loved ones, having an estate plan in place that mitigates the impact of probate is essential. To learn more about how our team of experienced probate attorneys serving Hempstead can help accomplish your estate planning goals and avoid the probate process, consider contacting our New Hyde Park office today at 516-908-8689.
What Is the Probate Process?
When a person passes away, their estate must be assessed, valued, and distributed to their heirs. Their debts must be addressed and taxes must be paid. The probate process is a court-supervised legal proceeding wherein a person’s estate is managed and distributed following their death. This process begins immediately after a person’s death, unless their estate plan has been structured to avoid probate.
When an estate enters probate, a person is appointed to manage the proceeding. This person is referred to as the executor. The executor is tasked with a range of responsibilities, including filing the will with the court, identifying and value assets of the estate, determining and paying debts, and overseeing the distribution of assets. These responsibilities must be handled according to the rules and regulations of the court, based on New York State law.
If a person has a will at the time of their death, the probate process will be conducted according to their wishes. If they do not have a will, however, they are said to have died intestate. In this case, the estate will be distributed according to New York State law rather than the wishes of the deceased.
What Is the Role of a Probate Attorney?
The role of a probate attorney serving Hempstead depends entirely on the needs of their client. They can be greatly involved in the probate process or they can merely guide their client when necessary. A probate lawyer can represent either the executor or the beneficiaries of the estate, as both have legal responsibilities to fulfill during the process. An experienced probate attorney is able to provide counsel on the following matters:
- Filing necessary documentation according to court regulations and schedules
- Identifying assets and property included in the estate
- Verifying that all debts are paid off in full
- Determining state and federal estate and income tax obligations
- Resolving tax issues
- Overseeing the checking account of the estate
- Securing real estate appraisals
- Collecting proceeds from life insurance policies
- Transferring assets from the deceased to the heirs
- Overseeing asset and property distribution
The probate process is incredibly intensive and there are specific court guidelines and timelines that must be adhered to. For someone without experience, this process can be arduous. Probate attorneys serving Hempstead help ease the stress of this complicated legal proceeding, ensuring that all common pitfalls are avoided.
The Benefits of Working with a Probate Attorney
As a court-supervised process, probate proceedings are legally complex and even small errors can result in significant delays. There may also be financial consequences associated with these mistakes, making it essential to follow court guidelines precisely. Working with probate attorneys serving Hempstead helps to avoid these mistakes and ensure that the probate process is as smooth as possible.
The benefits of working with a probate lawyer include:
- Avoiding liability issues. The executor may be held personally liable for any mistakes made during the probate process. If, for example, they fail to identify assets, submit reports, pay off debts, and distribute assets according to court procedures, they may face financial repercussions. The role of executor is a large responsibility and working with a probate lawyer can help ensure that all duties of this role are fulfilled according to New York State law and court guidelines.
- Swift resolution. A probate lawyer can help speed up the probate process, which can last several years if the estate is large and complex or if family disputes arise. It is possible to conclude this process in a few months with the help of a legal professional.
- Reducing the likelihood of disputes. Disagreements among parties are quite common during the probate process. When large sums of money are involved and emotions are at a high following the death of a loved one, disputes are likely to arise. A probate attorney is an objective, unbiased third party who helps ensure that the estate is managed and distributed professionally. This, in turn, helps reduce the likelihood of frustrations and quarreling.
By reducing the occurrence of liability issues, family disputes, or other mistakes during the probate process, probate lawyers help save valuable time and money. Furthermore, probate attorneys who also practice estate planning may be able to structure an estate plan to avoid the probate process altogether. To do so, however, the attorney must be consulted before a person passes away.
Finding the Right Probate Attorney for Your Needs
Hiring legal counsel is a major decision, and it is essential to identify the right probate attorney for your specific needs and goals. You will be discussing serious personal and financial matters with your attorney, so it is important to feel comfortable with this person. Moreover, you should feel confident that they understand your goals and will work diligently to uphold your interests during the probate process. To find the right probate attorneys serving Hempstead, consider the following questions:
- How much experience does this attorney have with probate issues?
- Does the law firm have a certified financial planner to help with more complex financial issues?
- Do they take a holistic approach when handling legal matters? Do they tailor their services to match your specific needs?
- Does the attorney prioritize understanding your goals before they make recommendations?
At Davidov Law Group, we believe that a client-centered approach is the most effective when handling probate and estate planning issues. We work to understand the needs of our clients and develop individualized solutions to address the problems that stand in the way of our clients goals. To learn more about our approach and the strategies we employ in probate and estate planning cases, the book Keeping it in Your Family – Protecting Your Family and Leaving a Lasting Legacy is an ideal place to start.
Contact Davidov Law Group Today
Through careful and strategic planning, it is possible to protect your assets from the probate process. Mitigating or avoiding probate altogether can help reduce family stress, costly court proceedings and taxes, and the amount of time spent distributing assets to your heirs. To learn more about how we can help structure your estate plan to avoid probate, contact our team of probate attorneys serving Hempstead today at 516-908-8689.