Individuals named the executor of a person’s will often hire a Probate Lawyer in Bainbridge Island immediately upon the demise of the person who wrote the will. While the legal advice these professionals provide is helpful, there are situations where obtaining this help is not needed. For example, smaller estates that don’t contain any unusual assets usually do not require this additional help. How can one know whether an attorney is needed? Answer the following questions when making this determination.
Can assets be transferred without going through probate? If they are held in joint tenancy, tenancy by the entirety or fall under the category of survivorship community property, there is no need for them to move through probate. Living trust assets also may bypass probate, and the same is true of any assets with a named beneficiary.
Agreement as to the Distribution of Assets
When all family members agree on how to distribute the assets, probate may not be needed. However, if one family is talking of suing the estate, contact a lawyer right away. A lawsuit of this type can be costly and lead to the dissolution of the family, so help is needed to try to prevent this from happening.
Can the estate handle all debts left by the deceased? If the answer is yes, all legitimate debts need to be paid first. Assets may then be distributed. If not, however, it’s best to speak to an attorney to ensure bills are resolved in the proper order.
What Taxes Will Be Owed?
The overwhelming majority of estates don’t owe any federal income tax. However, this may not be the case when it comes to state taxes. If there is any doubt as to whether taxes must be paid, it is best to consult with an attorney to ensure problems don’t arise in the future.
Don’t hesitate to contact a Probate Lawyer in Bainbridge Island to have any questions regarding the handling of the estate resolved. It’s best to be safe in this situation. No executor wants to assume they have handled the matter correctly only to have problems arise in the future. The attorney ensures the proper procedures are followed at all times.