So you’re gunning for a career job, and you’ve decided to become a probate attorney. Well, in all, it is a good decision, but have you considered the pros and cons of the job?
In reality, there are several questions you need answered before you take this leap. Do you know why you want to become a probate attorney? Are you aware of the requirements?
For the most part, the answers to these questions are personal, but superficial answers are never convincing.
For example, becoming a probate attorney because it sounds fancy is never enough to keep you on the job. What else drives you? The tasks of a probate attorney become more lucid once you’ve understood the role fully. In addition, you will only give your best shot to something you enjoy. So it is wise to analyze, research, understand what you are getting into, and then committing to it. In this article, I put together the main reasons why I decided to choose becoming a probate attorney as my career path. With these reasons, you will find out why you want to become one too. But before we delve into these reasons, let us try and answer a few basic questions first.
Who Is a Probate Attorney?
A probate attorney is a licensed lawyer, like every lawyer. Only this time, they work with the decedents’ families to process their assets, especially landed properties. How much the probate attorney gets involved in an affair depends on many things. Sometimes, it depends on how many assets the decedent owns. Their involvement also depends on if the deceased had a will before they passed away.
Where none of these things are available, the lawyer helps to limit conflicts as the beneficiaries of the assets bid for what they believe should be theirs. Then they weigh the value of the claims and execute the distribution of assets fairly.
Sometimes, challenges may arise even when a will is present. In this case, the probate lawyer assists in checking how valid the will is. And if there’s a need to file a suit, the attorney helps the beneficiaries do so.
Then again, you might know this, but not under the tag of “probate attorney.” A probate lawyer may also use many names depending on different circumstances or locations. For instance, people refer to Orange County probate lawyers as estate lawyers or attorneys, and this is also the case in several places.
So when you hear people say, “probate attorneys or estate lawyers,” understand that they are referring to the same kind of lawyer.
4 Reasons Why You Should Become a Probate Attorney
The top reasons you should become a probate attorney include the following:
Keep Families From Unnecessary Conflicts
You may not be able to avert the death of a loved one, but you can avoid unnecessary family conflicts that come with sharing assets.
Most times, a wealthy deceased’s beneficiaries want to participate in the probate process. And the probate process is taxing. It is even worse when people with little to no idea about probation assets get involved. In situations like this, in a short time, tension and unnecessary conflicts arise in addition to the grief.
Standing in as a probate attorney helps the family eliminate conflicts. Also, the knowledge of the probate lawyer helps clarify the beneficiaries better. Clarity reduces one-sided blame and accusations about not handling assets well. As such, you negate all room for conflicts to arise.
Distribute Assets Faster
The probate process is a long one. Sometimes, it may linger for more than a year. However, the probate process is faster with the right counsel. If you are good at it, you can finish distributing assets and investments in 6 months or even less.
Aside from distributing assets in a short time, you are most likely to stay away from lawsuits and other delays as a lawyer. Suits are not only expensive, they increase the time you will spend on a probate process. In addition, lawsuits can be tiring and tedious.
Prevent Rejections in the Probate Court
An asset’s beneficiaries must file documents to complete the probate process. These documents have to be complete and filed in the correct order too. Else, the probate court will reject them. And if the court continues to reject the documents, the case will take longer.
But as a probate lawyer, you understand how to file these documents. Knowing how to file these documents also saves time and prevents rejection. That is because you know the requirements and have the tools necessary to fulfill them. This is especially important as filing documents can get taxing.
Preventing False Claims Against Assets
Sometimes, a deceased’s will doesn’t mention some family members. On other occasions, some beneficiaries believe they should get more than what they got. And if these people feel entitled to more, some lay claims to get a share. On some occasions, they will sue against the will’s validity. Becoming a probate attorney helps you to know how to solve this. Also, you will be able to get rid of false family claimaints who intend to procure the assets with a devious intent.
What Else Does a Probate Attorney Do?
The job of a probate attorney is not limited to solving only asset issues. Here are some of the tasks of a probate attorney during the probate process.
- They prepare and file all documents a probate court needs.
- The probate attorney determines if an estate is free from debts or if it has debts. They also ensure that the beneficiaries satisfy these debts when they are due. Most times, these debts are some form of inheritance taxes.
- They resolve estate income and other tax-related problems.
- They assist in identifying the assets of the estate owner. They also secure these assets after identifying them.
- The attorney collects the proceeds from life insurance policies.
- They manage the estate account.
- The probate attorney is responsible for transferring assets to beneficiaries. They do this as stated in the decedent’s will after paying all outstanding debts.
- The probate attorney gets appraisals for the decedent’s assets.
It is good you understand that sometimes, the job scope of estate attorneys may go beyond the ones listed above. They can do as much as possible if their license permits them to.
If you want to follow through with this career path, it will help if you ask yourself defining questions. Is this a passion for you? Can you cope with the troubles that come with being a probate lawyer? What fuels your choice to become a probate lawyer?
Overall, the job can be highly rewarding, especially if you put in the work. You get to help a lot of people in the process, and that is something that brings great fulfillment. Helping a family through their tough time of personal loss is gratifying. Being able to do so without adding to their woes with tedious legal entanglements is something a probate attorney specializes in and that is the triumphant win in a career.
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