When to Hire a Lawyer for Probate
If you’ve been named as the executor of a will, you might consider hiring a lawyer to guide you through the probate process. While the role of executor was created, in part, to help people avoid legal fees for simple estates, you may find that a lawyer is the right choice for you.
A word of caution: Hiring a lawyer to help you as the executor can expensive. It might be more appropriate to hand off the job to a family member or family friend. Because a lawyer can incur costs, you may not be able to charge the estate for all of the legal fees that come with hiring a lawyer to help you complete your job as executor.
If the estate is large, you will probably want a lawyer on your side. Large estates can be subject to estate taxation, and that can make for a complicated and confusing probate process. Large estates also mean a higher chance of bitter family members looking to contest the will. Don’t wait for someone to contest the will of a large estate. Hire a lawyer to help you prevent people from contesting the will.
If the estate includes a business that needs to be transferred or sold, you will want an estate lawyer to help you. Dissolving a business and accounting for all of the business’s assets can be difficult. In addition, the business could be responsible for properly disposing of unfinished contracts, incomplete work, and employment terminations. You could leave the estate exposed to legal liabilities if you don’t address these business matters properly.
While the executor role and Uniform Probate Code are intended to help make the probate process simple and free from expensive legal fees, there are several reasons to hire a lawyer to help you through the process. In addition, there is no harm in asking a qualified estate attorney a few questions. Not only can an hour of time with a lawyer ease your mind, but one hour is a reasonable fee you can charge back to any estate.