Can You Go Through Probate by Yourself?
Being named as the administrator or executor of an estate can be an honor, but it can also feel like an overwhelming task. Many people wonder if they can go through probate on their own. If the estate is simple, and you have both the time and patience to handle the case, you might be able to manage probate by yourself. However, if there is even a chance of the following issues, you should strongly consider hiring an experienced probate attorney to help you with your case.
The Estate is Complex
One of the most challenging aspects of probating an estate occurs when the estate itself is particularly complex. This can happen for a number of reasons. There might be a significant number of heirs or beneficiaries to track down before the estate can be distributed. The estate itself might have a number of complicated aspects, such as securities, various financial accounts, personal property and real estate of unknown value, retirement accounts, and more that all require time and effort to appraise, liquidate, transfer, and distribute. Or, the final will and testament of the deceased may be incredibly complicated with distributions, exceptions, alternate plans, and more. If you are running into increasingly complex issues in the estate, it may be time to call in a professional.
Family or Beneficiary Infighting
If the beneficiaries or family members of the deceased do not agree to the terms of the will or are infighting over certain heirlooms from the estate, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to probate the case. This is particularly true if, as an administrator or executor, you are also a family member and related to those that are fighting over aspects of the probated estate. By leaving the probate process to an outside entity, you remove yourself from process and from being caught in the middle of infighting after your loved one has passed away. This can save family relationships and your sanity during a time that you are simultaneously attempting to manage an estate and your grief over the loss of a loved one.
Challenges to the Validity of the Will
If the infighting goes further than simple bickering and a legal challenge to the validity of the will is filed with the court, you need to hire an expert in probate law as soon as possible. Once a legal challenge is filed against the estate, you should not try to manage that process on your own. By failing to hire legal representation, you run the risk as executor of losing significant portions of the estate to the challenger, and depending on the facts of the case might even face civil liability from others that stood to benefit from the original will. Let the experienced professionals handle the case and build the best possible defense against any challenges to the estate.
You Lack the Time
Finally, you should consider hiring legal counsel to handle the probate of an estate if you do not think that you have the time to commit as an administrator or executor. This position requires far more time and effort than most people realize. In addition to the reading of the will, this position is required to inventory and value all items in the deceased’s estate. It requires oversight of any events where family members are allowed to take items of value as well as time in court to report to the judge on the progress of probate as you move through the process.
You must set aside time to manage all of the accounts of the deceased and do the last year of taxes for the estate. This is in addition to managing all of the questions and complaints that beneficiaries and family members will level at you regarding the contents of the will and the status of probate during the process. If you do not have the time available to dedicate to probate, you should consider talking to an experienced probate attorney today.
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For simple estates that have limited assets and heirs, you might be able to handle the probate process on your own as an administrator or executor to the estate. However, if you think that you might run into any of these issues, you should strongly think about hiring a highly qualified legal professional to handle the probate of the estate. To learn more about how an experienced probate attorney can help you through this process, call or contact The Inheritance Recovery Attorneys today.