If you are about to probate an estate, it’s wise to speak to a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI. The probate process can be quite complex, so it is good to have someone knowledgeable and experienced on your side. Here are a few important qualities to look for in a probate lawyer.
Inside the Probate Process
If you’ve written a will, you’ve taken an important step to securing a future for your family after you’re gone, and a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, Rhode Island can help you make sure there aren’t any extra complications later on down the line.
When it comes to your own estate, probate might not stick out as a major stumbling block. After all, you won’t be around to deal with it. But if you’ve been named in someone else’s will, probate suddenly seems all too real, and all too complicated. Suddenly you’re caught in a web of legal red tape and struggling to figure out your next steps. You may be wondering if it’s even worth the trouble!
An estate is someone’s legacy, and their way of providing for their family and friends after they’ve died. But if you’re set to inherit part of someone’s estate, you should expect a major headache to go along with your grieving. Read on to learn more about the probate process, and how the right lawyer can help.
What is Probate?
A will is more than just a piece of paper with some instructions and assets. After someone’s death, a will needs to be authenticated (to make sure it’s real and not a forgery) and it needs to be executed: The assets set aside for you don’t just magically appear on your doorstep when a loved one dies. This authentication and execution of a will is called probate.
When someone dies and leaves behind a will, the estate is handled through probate court. This is a lengthy process, made worse by the fact that there is an opportunity for dispute at every step. As mentioned before, the will needs to be authenticated. After the will is authenticated, the executor will be named (if the will hasn’t explicitly named one).
An executor is named to handle the probate process. They’re essentially an agent named by the deceased (or the probate court) to manage the contents of the will and ensure the instructions are followed satisfactorily. And of course, some family members may disagree with the choice of executor. Fortunately, a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI can walk you through what should happen next if the executor is disputed.
Once the executor is agreed upon, it’s their responsibility to ensure the instructions in the will are followed to the letter. The assets listed in the will need to be located, and the value of each asset needs to be determined by a specialist. If the deceased had any outstanding debts, their creditors need to be contacted, and any existing debt needs to be paid off
And of course, taxes need to be filed. Estate taxes may apply in certain cases, but there will also be processing fees to eat away at whatever’s left of the estate. After all the debts, taxes, and fees are paid off, the beneficiaries of an estate finally get whatever’s been left over for them. Probate can take several months, and it’s up to you to make sure you have a qualified lawyer who can make sure the process is being completed properly.
Commonly Misunderstood Facts About Inheritance
A will outlines the last wishes regarding a person’s estate after he or she dies. The probate court makes sure that the deceased’s last wishes are carried out as best they can. When dealing with inheritance, you might not know all the facts. Here are some commonly misunderstood facts about inheritance.
Unless There Isn’t a Will You Don’t Need a Lawyer
In Road Island, it is difficult to avoid Probate Court. Whether a decedent—deceased person leaving behind the inheritance—dies testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will), the probate court will determine the wish of the deceased, decide the beneficiaries, take care of any debt claims made against the decedent, and wrap up business in an organized fashion. Hiring a Probate Lawyer in East Greenwich, RI, gives you a voice in the process. A lawyer from McCarthy Law, LLC can provide the guidance you need during the probate process.
As Long As a Will Is Made There Can Be No Dispute
Even with a will, probate may be necessary. A person’s will dictates the last wishes of that person before he or she dies. A court determines the best and most correct interpretation of this will. If any of the decedent’s property is not mentioned within the will, the court will have to decide where the assets will go. Also, if the deceased possessed any debt at the time of his or her death, the court will accept claims made by the lending organizations and determine how the estate will pay off the debt.
It Won’t Take Long To Finalize Everything
In Road Island, creditors are given six months to file a claim against the estate. A probate case will need to stay open for at least those six months to allow creditors to get their claim in. Once all claims have been submitted, the court can move forward with distributing the estate to the creditors and the beneficiaries. This process can last months or years depending on the complexity and size of the estate. If you are unsure about timing, a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI, can give you peace of mind that the process is being handled promptly.
If an Inheritance Doesn’t Include Property It Doesn’t Have to Go Through Probate
An inheritance could have to go through probate court for several reasons. Some of these reasons include: the estate includes non-titled property not listed in the will (such as household appliances and furniture), the beneficiary died before the giver, or a claim has been made. There are ways to make sure a will can have a less complex probate process when it comes time to execute the will. McCarthy Law, LLC can explain this process in more detail.
Why You Should Hire a Probate Lawyer
Diminishes Family Conflict
When you hire a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI, you gain a third-party advocate whose primary responsibility is to make sure the deceased’s desires are upheld. If you allow a family member to lead the probate process, other beneficiaries may claim bias, improper use of funds and any number of other things. They may also feel as if the person in charge of the estate is hiding or withholding details or assets. When you work with a probate law firm, such as McCarthy Law, LLC, you can minimize or prevent family conflicts.
Increased Probability of Probate Acceptance
If you fill out or file your probate documents incorrectly, the court can reject them. Any denial will delay the distribution of the estate assets. However, probate attorneys, such as those at McCarthy Law, LLC, have extensive knowledge of and experience with the probate process.
These professionals know what documents need to be filled out, how they have to be filled out and how they need to be filed. Therefore, they may be able to accelerate your probate process, giving you quicker access to the estate. Although no one has or can allow you to get instant access to these assets, your process may be reduced from over a year to just a few months.
Minimize or Prevent Estate Claims
In many cases, at least one member of the family or a creditor of an estate attempts to make a claim against it. Individuals who may not be mentioned or those who receive less than they thought may be upset and try to file lawsuits to get what they think they deserve. These individuals may also claim that the estate wasn’t distributed correctly.
A probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI can meet with all the beneficiaries and contact all those who try to make claims against the estate to solve these issues. They can clearly explain and show these individuals what the estate documents say. If a claim goes further, resulting in a lawsuit, your attorney should also fight the case in court.
They Are Resources for Probate Questions
If you have any questions about the probate process, your probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI is a great resource. These individuals can guide you through the process and prepare you for any challenges. They can also clearly explain what the estate documents say. In addition, these professionals know how you need to handle taxes, funeral expenses and debt payments. They can provide you with valuable advice as you navigate the probate process.
FAQs About Probate
Why Do Wills Have To Go Through Probate?
As a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI, such as McCarthy Law, LLC can tell you, there are a variety of reasons wills have to go through probate. Here are a few of those reasons:
- To transfer ownership of assets from the estate to the beneficiary.
- To handle any taxes owed by the decedent (the person who died) or that arise when property is transferred.
- To create a deadline for creditors to file claims against the estate.
What Are the Primary Duties of the Executor of a Will?
There are many duties of the executor or executrix of a will. Here are just a few of those responsibilities:
- Identify and catalog the assets of the decedent.
- Set up a checking account for the estateGive notice to any creditors.
- Pay funeral costs, outstanding bills and legitimate creditors.
- File and pay income tax and any estate tax that might be due.
- Distribute assets to the heirs.
How Can a Will Be Contested?
If there are sufficient legal grounds, an heir, potential heir, or beneficiary can file papers claiming the will is invalid. This could happen if they believe the decedent was not competent to write a will, or if someone used undue influence on the decedent before their passing. As a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI, could tell you, jealousy and envy that you didn’t get what you feel was owed to you are not grounds to contest a will.
What Happens if There Are Creditors Against the Estate?
Creditors are notified that their debtor has died as part of the probate process. They then have a set amount of time to file a claim against the estate, either with the executor or the probate court. If the executor feels the claim is unwarranted, they can deny it, and the creditor would have to sue to recuperate what they’re owed. A probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI, can help you navigate the laws around creditors.
How Are Taxes Dealt With in Probate?
When it comes to taxes, a person’s death causes two things to happen. First, it is the decedent’s last year paying income taxes. Second, the estate becomes a new tax entity. The estate would be required to pay any gift, estate or inheritance taxes that are due. The estate would also pay any property, real estate or business taxes that are owed. You should ask a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI, such as McCarthy Law, LLC if you have any questions about tax implications of an estate.
Contact a Probate Lawyer Today
Probate is never easy, and it can seriously interrupt your natural grieving process. Nobody should have to fight over the contents of a will while they’re still mourning the loss of a loved one. Reach out to McCarthy Law, LLC today, and see how a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI can help you heal.
As mentioned above, probate is a complicated process. Therefore, it is important to hire a lawyer who has extensive experience probating estates. He or she will know exactly what the process entails and will help you get through it as efficiently as possible. If you hire a lawyer who is fresh out of law school, he or she may not possess the kind of knowledge and experience you are looking for.
Losing a loved one and then settling an estate is extremely difficult. As you are grieving, you are responsible for paying the decedent’s debts and distributing assets to the proper heirs. That is why it is essential to work with a probate lawyer who is compassionate. He or she should understand that you are in a difficult situation and always be on your side.
Excellent Communication Skills
The probate process can be confusing for many people, so it is important to hire a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI with great communication skills. He or she should be able to explain the entire process to you in language you can clearly understand. If you have any questions about the process, your lawyer should be able to answer them without hesitation.
The probate process involves a mountain of paperwork and multiple court dates. That is why it is critical to select a probate lawyer who is highly organized. He or she should help you quickly gather the documents you need and keep all of your court dates in a calendar.
Settling an estate may take some time and involve some bumps along the road. With that being said, it is not always an easy process. The probate lawyer you hire should be very perseverant. He or she shouldn’t quit when things get difficult or take shortcuts. Your lawyer should continue to push through until the estate is successfully probated.
If you need assistance probating an estate, you should schedule a consultation with a probate lawyer in East Greenwich, RI from McCarthy Law, LLC as soon as possible.
Myths about Probate
As a probate lawyer in East Greenwich RI, we have heard every kind of myth and misconception about wills or trust that there is. Estate planning and probate court and general have a lot of myths surrounding them because it is not something that the common person goes through every single day of their life. Some of the myths do have truth behind them because everyone’s situation is going to be different. The lawyers of McCarthy Law LLC understand that everyone’s time at probate for dealing with wills is going to be different. A that is okay.
So today we are here to dispel some of the myth that may be surrounding your thoughts about probate law.
The state or government will take all of the money that you received from probate court.
This is a myth. This is probably one of the most common myths that is associated with probate court. And yes there are fees and costs that are associated with the proceedings to go to court, from filing fees and appraisal fees, to taxes. However they do not take all of the money that you receive. In fact, in Rhode Island, probate fees are all under $200. And you only pay the fees for what you need to have done. You can talk to your probate lawyer in Greenwich RI about your probate fees and fines and find out what you is applicable to your case.
If somebody has left a will, you do not need to go to probate court.
So even if there is a last will and testament, you must understand that the primary purpose of going to probate court is to ensure that the transfer of assets from the decedent to the heirs or beneficiaries is done correctly and that all debts left behind by the person that died are paid. So essentially, you should think of the will as a statement that tells you about the intent of the person that made the will. In probate court is the proper process to make the intent within that will real. If you do not greater the probate process and you simply follow the will, the will can be contested and things can get messy. Probate ensures that the will is answered as it is written and that any contested feelings is dealt with swiftly by the court.
A trust is the only method of avoiding probate court.
While trust is indeed the preferred estate planning method for those who are looking to avoid probate court, there are still other ways to avoid probate court but it is all dependent upon your individual needs and goals. Property can be held as a joint tenancy or it can even have a beneficiary designation and therefore would avoid probate court, probate court is only going to do with assets that are in the decedent’s name; not with property that is held in joint custody or has been signed over to somebody else prior to this person’s death.