As an estate administration law firm serving the Lake Norman area, we hear from a lot of people struggling with the probate process. Probate can be quite overwhelming, even for the most financially and organizationally adept individuals. Here are the top reasons we find people seeking help from a probate attorney.
Quite frankly, the number one reason is time. For many, the learning curve takes substantial time—i.e. figuring out all the probate forms and processes. Even if all this is known and understood, the multiple contacts and communications with county courts, lenders, and financial institutions is time consuming. It’s not unusual to be on hold with one of these entities for an hour or more, only then to receive inaccurate or incomplete information and have to do it all over again weeks or months down the road. For these reasons, many people seek out an estate administration lawyer simply to avoid the personal loss of time and frustration. The grieving process is difficult enough without the burden of probate.
The second most common reason we find individuals seeking out an estate administration attorney is the difficulty that can often arise when trying to make the necessary financial determinations. Securities, real estate, and business holdings can at times prove tricky when determining their values at the date of death. Calculating the exact value within the law of required payments towards debt and beneficiary obligations is often not easy. The estate taxes due may be a complicated task. Obtaining the counsel of a probate attorney can help with all of these financial determinations, ensuring that beneficiaries’ interests are maximized with no inadvertent breaches of the law.
The third most common reason for seeking out a probate lawyer is a faulty will. Believe it or not, there are a significant number of wills that are poorly written. Often created by well meaning persons, we see a good number of wills that contain conflicting statements of intention or are not legally precise in their legal verbiage. These are mostly “Do It Yourself Wills,” but not always. We also see wills that are simply not in compliance with current North Carolina estate law. Many of these cases with faulty wills can be exceedingly difficult to probate.
Fourthly, there can be some family situations where internal tension exists. In these cases, executors often turn to an estate administration lawyer to play the role of a professional and neutral intermediary. With an estate administration attorney managing the estate and the distribution of assets, the misunderstandings that often fuel family tensions can be deflated. Furthermore, hiring a probate lawyer can help safeguard the personal liability an executor assumes in these situations and therefore provide further peace of mind to a family in conflict.
Though this brief list is not exhaustive, it does represent the bulk of concerns we see when persons are seeking help from a probate attorney. The grieving process is difficult enough as it is. Should these or any other concerns trouble you in the administration of an estate and you live in Charlotte or the larger Lake Norman area, please feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation.