Old couple estate planning with attorney

The Benefits of Hiring a Probate Attorney

Russell Manning Attorney May 17, 2024

Losing a loved one is an inherently challenging time for families. Amidst the emotional turmoil, the responsibility of handling the deceased’s estate can add an overwhelming burden. If your loved one has just passed away, you may not think you need a probate attorney. “Why would I need to hire an attorney to do something I can do myself without having to pay anyone?” you might be wondering.  

And I totally get it. The last thing you want right now is to increase probate costs. However, an attorney won’t just do the things you can do on your own. A probate attorney’s services go well beyond simply preparing and filling out court documents. Your attorney will also manage the estate’s finances, negotiate with creditors, oversee property appraisal, and transfer the estate’s assets to the appropriate heirs, among other things.  

Before you dismiss the idea of hiring a probate attorney, familiarize yourself with the benefits of getting legal counsel during probate. At Russell Manning Attorney, I am proud to serve clients in Corpus Christi, TX, and across South Texas and the Coastal Bend Area, including Bee County, Nueces County, Live Oak County, Jim Wells County, Aransas County, and Victoria County.

With more than 30 years of experience, I can provide you with the tools and support you need to help make the probate process move much faster and easier for everyone.  

How Do You Decide if You Need a Probate Attorney or Not?

First things first. Who is a probate attorney? A probate attorney is a state-licensed lawyer who helps the appointed executor of the deceased person’s estate or the beneficiaries of the estate to get through probate efficiently, successfully, and with minimum stress. Their services range from identifying and creating an inventory of estate assets and locating the deceased's will to paying estate and income taxes, transferring assets to the beneficiaries, and more.  

Deciding whether or not you need a probate attorney can be tough because everyone’s situation is unique. The need for legal counsel during probate proceedings depends on several factors. To make the decision, you will need to ask yourself the following: 

  • How complicated are my state’s laws regarding probate? 

  • Am I comfortable handling all probate matters from start to finish on my own without anyone’s assistance?  

  • Did the deceased have a will?  

  • What is the size of the estate? 

  • Did the deceased have any debts or unpaid taxes? 

  • Do I anticipate any family conflicts related to the distribution of assets?  

Asking yourself these questions will help you understand whether or not you have a basic understanding of what to expect ahead of you. Feel free to reach out to my office and schedule a consultation to discuss how I could help you so you know if you can benefit from my services.  

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Probate Attorney? 

When your loved one dies, you might not think you need legal assistance until you are confronted with the seemingly endless legal forms and procedures. This is when you might start thinking about hiring an attorney but may not be sure how they could help. Here are some of the most compelling reasons to start working with a probate attorney:  

1. Gain Access to Your Loved One's Assets Sooner 

One of the primary roles of a probate attorney is to reduce the time it takes for the family to get access to the deceased’s assets. Without professional guidance, the probate process can turn out to be lengthy and complicated, delaying when beneficiaries can receive their inheritance. A probate attorney will help the executor and beneficiaries navigate the legal system, reducing wait times and helping families secure their rightful assets sooner. 

2. To Ensure You Check Every Box 

The probate process involves many legal requirements and deadlines that can easily be overlooked if you are not familiar with the process. A probate attorney will ensure that every necessary step is taken, from notifying creditors to handling tax issues. With legal counsel, you can minimize the risk of errors that could lead to disputes or delays.  

3. File Court Documents on Time 

Probate involves a monumental amount of paperwork that must be filed within specific timelines. Missing a deadline can delay the process and potentially harm the estate. A probate attorney will take care of these administrative tasks so you don’t have to worry about any of that and can focus on grieving and healing.  

4. Avoid or Minimize Family Conflicts 

Disputes among family members are not uncommon during the probate process, especially when the deceased doesn’t leave behind a will. A probate attorney acts as a neutral third party who can help mediate disagreements and provide objective advice based on the law. The attorney’s assistance can aid in preserving family relationships during this difficult time.  

5. Avoid Legal Claims Against the Estate 

An experienced attorney can help protect the estate from legal claims that might arise. Whether it's contesting the will or claims from creditors, a probate attorney knows how to manage these issues, ensuring the estate is distributed according to the decedent’s wishes and legal requirements. 

6. Speed Up the Probate Process 

Perhaps one of the most appreciated benefits of hiring a probate attorney is their ability to expedite the probate process. Their understanding of the legal system and connections with court personnel can reduce the time it takes to settle an estate, allowing families to get closure and move forward with their lives sooner. 

7. Get Peace of Mind 

Last but not least, hiring a probate attorney provides families with peace of mind during these trying times. Knowing that a skilled professional is handling the legal side of settling your loved one’s estate allows you and the rest of the family to focus on supporting each other and honoring the memory of the deceased. 

Take Advantage of Having a Probate Attorney on Your Side

As a probate attorney with over 30 years of experience, I pride myself on providing compassionate and caring legal representation that my clients can rely on. I am here to take some of the burden off your plate and allow you to focus on the things that truly matter during this difficult time. Reach out to my office at Russell Manning Attorney today and request a consultation.