Probate is a legal process, which means it usually takes place in or through the court. It deals with the way assets from someone’s estate are distributed to his or her heirs. While having a will can greatly diminish the cost and stress of probate, it doesn’t rule out probate. One of the first ways to make probate easier is to have a well thought-out estate plan, but whether or not that is present, if you are an heir to an estate, it might be worth getting professional legal help with any probate matter.
The first reason to get help with probate is simply the timing of the matter. Probate occurs after someone has died and that someone might have been close to you. You might not be in a frame of mind to deal with tedious legal details, and that could result in mistakes if you try to handle all probate matters alone. You might also have other things to worry about, such as taking care of children or handling matters that were left open after the person passed away.
A second reason to get help is that probate is a legal matter that is handled via the court system, and that system can be slightly different in each jurisdiction. If you’re nervous about any of the administrative or legal functions associated with probate, it helps to have a professional on your side who is well-versed in the local courts.
Finally, you might want to get help with probate if anyone else associated with the matter has hired his or her own attorney. If someone is contesting a will or estate plan with help from an attorney, you might want a lawyer who can help you protect your rights too.