What Is a Probate Lawyer and Do You Need One?

A probate lawyer is an attorney who guides clients through the legal proceeding of settling an estate. This video covers the different roles of a probate lawyer. The probate process can be long and arduous, which may be too taxing for those who have just lost a loved one.

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After an asset holder dies, the process of validating and administering their will can begin. If there is no will, meaning that the asset holder dies intestate, the estate will also go through a probate process. Probate has many steps that a probate layer is well qualified to handle. They include collecting life insurance proceeds, identifying and securing assets, getting appraisals of the deceased person's assets, ensuring that debts and taxes are paid, filing probate court documents, and transferring assets to the beneficiaries after debts and taxes are paid off. According to the American Bar Association, the probate process can take an average of six to nine months. Deciding on whether to hire a probate lawyer hinges on anticipating how complicated the process will be. For example, hiring a probate lawyer would be wise if there is a beneficiary dispute, a large estate, or complex tax issues.