Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult under any circumstance, and your grief could turn into stress if you are responsible for or involved in settling an estate. Even if your loved one was well-organized prior to their death, many legal questions can linger. In some cases, the estate may need to go through probate before you can continue settling your loved one’s affairs.
Rather than facing this situation alone, you can hire an probate attorney to help make the process as smooth as possible and settle any potential disputes along the way. A Cleveland County probate lawyer from Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, can guide you through.
What Is Probate?
Probate refers to the legal process of settling an estate following the passing of a loved one. While probate might seem straightforward, the process can get very complicated. It is not unusual for the probate process to last several months or even more than a year.
In many cases, a will or trust may have been set up prior to your loved one’s death, acting as a blueprint for the legal proceedings. Even if a will or trust is set up, however, there can still be disputes along the way.
In more complicated situations, the deceased individual did not plan for the aftermath of their death. This can make navigating their assets, liabilities, and entire estate difficult and time-consuming.
A probate court is specifically used in matters of trust, will, or estate issues and administration. If there are no disputes at hand between heirs and if there are clear directions in a will, a probate court could still be necessary to tie up any loose ends. This process can be relatively quick, as the court will oversee the settlement of any outstanding debts and asset allocation.
If there are any issues or disputes with an estate, the case would almost certainly need to go to a probate court. Cases involving disputes can take longer to settle and require legal assistance or outside counsel.
Who Is Responsible for Settling an Estate in North Carolina?
Generally, one individual is named as the “executor” of a will, trust, or estate. This means that they are responsible for carrying out the deceased’s wishes as their will or living trust dictates. This job is critical, as there can be many factors that go into successfully handling a loved one’s affairs.
If a will does not name an executor, the next of kin or a close loved one can file a request with the court to be named a representative, assuming many of the same responsibilities of an executor. In an ideal world, everything will go smoothly in probate court, but unfortunately, disputes and complications along the way are possible.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the total amount of tax paid for estates exceeded 13 billion dollars in 2019 alone. Assets can include property, cash, investments, belongings, and more. Because there could be a significant amount of assets at stake, it is not surprising that there is sometimes turmoil in the process.
One of the challenges that can accompany a loved one’s death is possible friction while allocating and executing their will and estate. Sadly, this can cause family members and other close individuals to fight over what belongs to whom. Some common types of disputes in this scenario include:
- Disputes over the interpretation language in the will or trust
- Difficulties or arguments between an executor and others involved in the estate
- Disputes over the value or allocation of assets
- Missing or potentially stolen items
- Challenges to a trust or will’s validity
If you find yourself in the middle of an estate dispute in Cleveland County, you do have legal options. It could make sense for you to hire a professional to help settle any outstanding issues. A probate lawyer from our firm can help you better understand the steps available.
Why Hire a Probate Lawyer?
Probate lawyers are sometimes necessary depending on the amount of assets left behind in an estate or based on state law. Even if the law does not require you to hire a lawyer, having an attorney assist with the process can ensure that a will is executed legally and fairly, allowing you and your loved ones to focus on your grieving and recovery from the traumatic loss of a family member.
In addition, the laws regarding estates can vary depending on different jurisdictions. A team of lawyers familiar with the probate process can help you understand how the complex legal details pertain to your situation in the Cleveland area.
The Benefits of Legal Representation
In addition to making sure that an estate is executed appropriately, a probate lawyer on our team can:
- Assist with time-consuming paperwork, allowing you to focus on your family and personal life
- Answer your questions as they arise
- Explain each step of the probate and estate allocation process
- Help keep everything on track so that the estate settles in a timely manner
- Provide general legal support during a difficult time
- Ensure that you are protected against future litigation
- Fight for any assets or other forms of compensation you are legally entitled to through the estate
If you are ready to move forward with your life and put this difficult chapter behind you, a probate lawyer in Cleveland County is available to help.
Contact Us Today About the Probate Process in Cleveland County
Losing a loved one can be difficult enough – let the team at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, assist you with estate and probate matters and make your life easier during this time. Call for a free, no-obligation consultation today.