As The Executor Of A Will, Do You Need To Hire A Probate Lawyer?
Being named the executor of someone's will can be both an honor and a responsibility. Once that person passes away, you will be the one responsible for making sure the terms of the will are carried out. This may involve dividing assets between various people, sending money off to organizations as donations, and selling an estate. Should you hire a probate attorney to help you through this process? If the will was written clearly and with the assistance of a qualified attorney, you may not have to. On the other hand, if any of the following scenarios ring true, you may be best off working with a probate attorney.
The will is unclear.
Maybe the will is written in a way that makes it hard to deduce what the author really meant. Perhaps, for example, one line says that the deceased wills their home to person X, but later in the document, it is mentioned that person Y should inherit half the home's value. When there is any sort of discrepancy in the will, it is best to hire a probate attorney. They can tell you what the law says about how certain assets are to be delegated by default, which is often what has to occur when the terms of the will contradict one another.
Someone is contesting the will.
Has a relative or friend contacted you and insisted that they have a right to certain assets that are not due to them according to the will? This is called "contesting the will." You don't know how far this person will take this; they could take the matter to court. It is often best to hire a probate lawyer at the first sign of contest rather than waiting for the person to file an official case.
The will can't be located.
Maybe the deceased told you that you would be their executor. Maybe they even gave you paperwork specifying that you were the executor. But as for the will itself, it cannot be found. Even if you have an old copy but not a current one, this is something that you need help from a probate lawyer to deal with. They can help you try to locate the will by contacting other legal offices that may have written or handled it. In the absence of the will, they can help you distribute the property according to the law.
As the executor of a will, it is sometimes necessary to hire a probate lawyer. If you find yourself in any of the situations above, make the call.