Not everyone likes lawyers—until they need one, that is. Then your local attorney goes from “zero” to “hero.”
But what, exactly, do attorneys do for you?
Most of us may have a general idea of what an attorney does (i.e., they go to court) and we may even have a general idea of what particular attorneys, like divorce attorneys or criminal lawyers, do.
But what, does a probate lawyer do for you that no one else does?
The answer is…
Probate lawyers focus on the legal practice areas of trusts and estates. This is a highly complex and complicated practice area. To do their job well, a probate attorney must be able to handle issues that are governed by a number of other laws, like tax law, business and contract law, and property law, just to name a few. So, like a surgeon or medical specialist, probate lawyers specialize in the area of trusts and estates. But like a general practitioner, they must also be conversant with any number of other laws.
For example, financial issues constantly come up in estate planning and for trusts. This means that probate lawyers need to know a significant amount about taxes: how to minimize or avoid them (legally), or how to defer them —in a wide range of situations. Likewise, issues regarding government benefits (like Social Security Disability Insurance or Medicaid/Medicare) arise constantly in the area of trusts and estates. And so your probate lawyer must know these laws as well.
Business issues, like preparing a succession plan, must be handled as well.
Property law applies to everything from real estate to cryptocurrency, and is a central part of any trust or estate plan.
In short, a probate attorney has to have an in-depth understanding of trusts and estates and other complex areas of law as well.
Like maritime law or aviation law, not all attorneys focus their practice on the specialized practice of trusts and estate law. So not all attorneys can do for you what a probate attorney can do.
And what a probate lawyer does for you that no one else does is critical to your peace of mind and the protection of your loved ones.
What a Probate Lawyer Does for You That No One Else Does
They Give You Peace of Mind
One thing that a probate lawyer does for you that no one else does is they talk to you about death.
And the death of your spouse, your heirs, beneficiaries, potential guardians, and potential personal representatives.
They also talk to you about how you want your family cared for when you are gone and what you want your legacy to be.
A probate lawyer takes on these difficult conversations because they facilitate your thinking about how you want your estate organized and how you want your assets distributed when you are gone. They help you anticipate future situations and scenarios you would not have thought about on your own so you can plan for the unexpected and develop contingency plans.
No one else does that for you.
Plus, after they work through these difficult conversations with you, your probate attorney turns your wishes into an organized and thorough estate plan designed just for you.
So that when you leave her office with all your documents properly drafted and executed, you leave with peace of mind knowing your family will be taken care of when you are gone.
A Probate Lawyer Advises and Assists the Personal Representative of an Estate
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: taking on the responsibility of administering an estate is no joke. It is hard work and requires expertise in a number of areas.
A personal representative needs to know probate law and tax law in addition to being able to understand investments, property and how to handle beneficiaries in order to comply with all of his legal duties. Not everyone is capable of handling this alone. In fact, because this is such a difficult role, Florida law requires that a personal representative hire a probate attorney to assist them with formal administration of a decedent’s estate.
A probate lawyer can help a personal representative by doing any of the following or more:
- Locating and assuming control of all estate assets
- Calculating and paying estate taxes
- Opening and managing the estate’s checking account
- Ordering property appraisals for real property
- Paying debts and final bills
- Preparing and filing all court documents
- Making final distributions
Having an experienced Florida probate attorney to assist and guide you is invaluable if you are a personal representative (or a trustee for that matter).
They Handle Difficult, Complicated Situations for You
Finally, another thing in this short list of things that a probate lawyer does for you that no one else does, is: they handle difficult situations for you.
Let’s face it. Not all estates are straight-forward. And not all families are the “Waltons” —with loving, uncomplicated relationships.
Probate lawyers are adept at navigating difficult family relationships and conflict. They are also able to handle any number of legal issues that could arise with regard to the estate or its administration like:
Ambiguities in a Will (typically the wording and typically Wills written by out-of-state attorneys).
- Will contests
- Financial disputes
- Incomplete contracts (for example, the sale of a business)
- Property left to a minor
- Guardianship issues
- Estates that do not have enough assets to satisfy creditor’s claims
Handling these (and other complicated) matters on your own is not advisable or necessary when there are exceptional experienced probate lawyers available to help you.
No one else can do for you what a probate lawyer can do. So don’t hesitate. Peace of mind is only a phone call away.
Probate Lawyers in Plantation, Florida
At the SJF Law Group, you get more than just an estate plan: you get peace of mind. We work hard to ensure that your wishes will be followed, and your loved ones taken care of when you are gone. Connect with us on Facebook or Instagram or email us at: [email protected] today.