There are a few individuals who would hire and estate administration lawyer. Depending on the complexity of the issue, whether the decedent died with a will or without, how many beneficiaries there are, etc., probate and estate administration lawyers can help with a wide range of issues, for a wide range of clients.
Personal Representative as the Client
Personal representatives are the most common client for a probate or estate administration lawyer. Due to the overwhelming duties of a personal representative, it is often the case they will hire an attorney to assist them. A probate lawyer can assist the personal representative with many things, including:
- Distinguishing between probate and non-probate assets
- Obtaining accurate appraisals of the decedent’s property
- Preparing and filing all of the documents necessary within the timeframe
- Advising on payment of bills and debts with creditors
- Advising and settling on any disputes to the estate, or and claims filed against the estate
- Assistance in distributing assets
- Assistance in sale of real estate property
- Advising on what taxes need to be paid, on the state and federal level
- Settling any disputes within the estate and beneficiaries
Beneficiary as the Client
If a beneficiary to an estate is confused, or is not receiving the property they are legally entitled to, a probate or estate lawyer can help. Often times there are discrepancies within the estate administration process that can be daunting. Issues may arise with the validity of a last will and testament, or issues can arise with the issue of the personal representative breaching a duty.
“Interested Person” as the Client
An interested person can be anyone from a beneficiary to a creditor. An interested person can take legal action on behalf of or against the estate. Creditors can attempt to collect money that the decedent owed them if no family member or beneficiary comes forward to pay the debt. If an interested person has an issue with the will, or wants to object to the appointment of the personal representative, they make seek legal action. An interested person has the right to review all copies of any report submitted to the Orphans’ Court, which may be accomplished through the probate or estate administration lawyer.