Understanding What An Estate Is During Probate


The goal of a probate lawyer is to assist with the estate of an individual after they have passed away. But to understand what this job entails, it is important to understand what is considered an estate in the first place.

Probate Estates

An estate refers to assets that will pass under a will. They will go through the process of probate, which is nothing more than when they go through the process of the courts transferring assets from the deceased to the next generation.

Trust Estates

An alternative to the probate estate is the "trust estate." This is when the estate is held in a trust and is passed down to the beneficiaries of the trust. The IRS will also be interested in the estate when determining the estate tax and will not care if the estate is in a trust or if it is being passed along through a will.

The Probate Process

The probate involves the collection of assets. Then, all of the liabilities associated with the estate will need to be liquidated. There will likely be taxes that need to be paid. Then, the property is distributed to all of the heirs. It is the job of the probate lawyer to assist in all of this.

With the probate process, a probate lawyer can help with taking care of the estate and can help resolve any legal issues associated with the estate. If there is a will, the probate attorney will be primarily advising everyone associated with the will on legal matters. If there are any problems with the will, such as if family members dispute whether the individual signing it was of sound mind, a probate lawyer may be able to help with this.

What If There Was No Will

An estate is handled differently when there is no will. In that case, a probate attorney will be needed to help the administration of the estate distribute the assets in a manner that is in compliance with state laws. The probate attorney will also play a role in filing the papers necessary to appoint someone as the administrator of the estate.

Regardless of whether there is a will or not, the estate can become very complicated, especially when there are creditors and beneficiaries fighting over the estate. For this reason, it's important to speak with a probate lawyer who can help you and your family members sort through the estate.


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