Dealing with the assets of a lost loved one is rarely easy, particularly if your loved one had a large or complex estate. This process can take months or even years, involving countless headaches along the way.
Luckily, you don’t need to face this daunting challenge alone. You’ve come to the right place if you need help with the wills and estates administration process. A wills and estates administration lawyer from Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC can support you.
- Working With a Wills and Estates Administration Lawyer
- Wills and Estates Administration Facts
- Hire a Wills and Estates Administration Lawyer Today
Working With a Wills and Estates Administration Lawyer
At Farmer & Morris, PLLC, we’re here to assist you with your wills and estates administration needs. We recognize that this process can be emotional, so we’re prepared to move at your pace. To ensure that you’re comfortable, we can:
- Answer questions
- Treat your case with compassion
- Provide consistent case updates
We know that you’re here because you need results, too. We provide our clients with the following wills and estates administration services:
- Meeting you where you are: When you first join us as a client, we can discuss your specific wants and needs. Then, we can work together to build and execute a satisfying plan.
- Crafting and submitting documents: Wills and estates administration requires documentation and a lot of it. We can gather and submit relevant documentation on your behalf.
- Evaluating your case: Every individual seeking wills and estates administration support is unique. We can thoroughly review your case to determine how best to move forward. To us, you’re not a case number; you’re an individual.
- Handling will disputes: When a person passes away, disputes about their assets can arise. We can act as your legal representative during a conflict.
Supporting You With Administrative Duties
After an individual passes away, plans must be made to distribute their estate. Typically, this task falls upon the personal representative who’s responsible for divvying up a decedent’s estate. Typically, the personal representative is a family member appointed by a will or relevant local court.
If you’re the personal representative of a loved one who’s recently passed, our team can provide you with these services:
- Investigating and evaluating assets
- Finding and submitting the will
- Contacting beneficiaries (those slated to receive a portion of the will)
- Making a plan to pay off the estate’s debts
- Negotiating with creditors (those owed money by whoever passed away)
Why Hire a Wills and Estates Administration Lawyer?
Wills and estates administration are overwhelming for two reasons.
First, if you’re seeking a wills and estates administration lawyer, it’s likely that you’ve recently lost a loved one. You may be grieving this loss, making it difficult to focus on the task at hand.
Second, wills and estates administration is complicated. This process involves an often frustrating network of relevant laws. To succeed, you need to navigate these laws and deal with a considerable amount of work. Plus, wills and estates administration can involve disagreements that grind the process to a halt.
By hiring a wills and estates administration lawyer, you could accomplish the following goals:
- Take a step back from your case: With a lawyer by your side, you won’t need to handle the details of your case alone. We can reduce your workload by addressing a range of administrative tasks. Similarly, we can apply our legal experience to your case—you’ll never be more than a phone call away from having your questions answered.
- Focus on what really matters: While you spend time with your family, we can administer the will and estate of your passed loved one. You deserve time to grieve and recover.
Wills and Estates Administration Facts
When dealing with a wills and estates administration case, it’s best to be prepared. These are some information and facts that could apply to your unique situation:
Can Wills Be Disputed?
Wills, which a person writes before they pass away, determine how an estate is divided up. These documents are vital because, in their absence, the courts and relevant family members must debate who receives what portion of the estate. These debates can lead to disagreements and cause falling outs among family members who were once close. The process of proving and administering a will is called probate.
Even if your loved one wrote a will, disagreements could still arise. Wills can be contested for several reasons, including:
- Fraud: The will was fabricated by someone other than the decedent
- Undue influence: Before the decedent passed away, they were coerced or threatened to include another party in their will
- Lack of capacity: The decedent was of unsound mind when they wrote their will
Contested wills can lead to legal battles—if you find yourself in this position, we’re here to provide legal representation. We can also assist you during the probate process, interpreting the language contained in a will.
Beneficiaries and Succession
Without a will, it’s up to the courts and beneficiaries to determine who receives what portions of the estate. This proceeding is guided by state intestacy laws, which determine who can be a beneficiary (a person who gets a part of the estate).
Beneficiaries will usually include:
- Close family members
Selecting a Personal Representative
Personal representatives are typically named in a will. However, if the will doesn’t name a personal representative, or there is no will, it’s up to the courts to choose who becomes a personal representative.
The personal representative can’t be anyone, however. Qualifying parties for this position, in order of importance, typically include:
- The spouse of the decedent
- Someone who is a named beneficiary in the will
- Next of kin, whether they were named or not in the will
Remember, these are only general guidelines for personal representatives. Unique cases can alter these guidelines. For example, if another qualified individual doesn’t come forward, a creditor of the decedent can be named as the personal representative.
These are the two primary eligibility factors for personal representatives, besides the order of importance:
- You must be over the age of 18
- You must be of sound mind, as determined by the courts
If you have questions about personal representative eligibility, our team can address them during a case evaluation.
What About Debt?
When a person passes away, it’s not uncommon for them to still have debt, from loans to car payments. This debt won’t magically vanish. Instead, it’s the responsibility of the estate to pay off this debt. Don’t fret, though; in most cases, family members aren’t responsible for the debt of their loved ones.
Remember that this debt must be paid before beneficiaries receive their inheritance. If the decedent carried a large portion of the debt, it could reduce the amount of inheritance the beneficiaries receive.
Hire a Wills and Estates Administration Lawyer Today
If you feel overwhelmed by the wills and estates administration process, the lawyers with Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC can help. Call our offices today for a case evaluation.