Dealing with the loss of a family member or close loved one is never easy. If you were also notified that the decedent appointed you as the Executor of the estate, you are probably trying to handle both the grief that comes with losing a loved one and the pressure that comes with serving as an Executor. One way to make your life easier, and to ensure that you don’t make a costly mistake, is to hire a probate attorney to help you. Probate attorneys understand the numerous and varied duties and responsibilities of an Executor. Consider the following five reason why hiring a probate attorney is a wise choice.
- Knowledge and experience. Unless you have served as the Executor of an estate before, you are likely already feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of doing so now. Navigating the legal system alone can be intimidating to anyone who doesn’t do so on a regular basis. Probate attorneys know the court system inside and out. They have the knowledge and experience that makes probating an estate much easier and less stressful. They also know the laws that apply to the probate of an estate. That knowledge and experience can prove invaluable throughout the probate process.
- Defending challenges. Probate litigation is always a possibility. In fact, litigation during the probate of an estate is more common now than it used to be. Moreover, the estate does not need to be particularly valuable for a challenge to occur. Beneficiaries and heirs will contest a Will for a seemingly endless number of reasons without regard to the value of the estate assets. In addition, creditors of the estate may challenge a denial of a claim. As the Executor, it is your job to defend the estate from any challenges. A probate attorney by your side certainly helps.
- Probating an estate is time-consuming. The reality is that probating an estate takes a considerable amount of time and attention – time and attention that the average person doesn’t have to spare. Beneficiaries and heirs must be identified, located and notified. Creditors must also be given notice of the proceedings and every claim filed must be reviewed. All estate assets have to be valued and secured until the probate reaches a conclusion. Even if the estate manages to avoid litigation, it is still a time-consuming process. Retaining the services of a probate attorney allows you to continue to manage your day to day life while still overseeing the probate of the estate.
- Avoiding costly errors. An error made during the probate of an estate can cost the beneficiaries of the estate a considerable amount of both time and money. In addition, you could be held personally responsible for errors in some cases, which is yet another reason to have an experienced probate attorney by your side.
- Probate attorneys have resources that you don’t. For an estate with complex and/or valuable assets, an entire team of professionals is often needed to help during the probate process. You will need appraisers to help value the assets, accountants to ensure that all state and federal taxes owed by the estate are calculated properly and paid. You may also need a real estate professional and/or a financial advisor to help decide which assets to sell and which ones to keep if the estate lacks the necessary liquidity to cover all debts. All of this requires resources that most people don’t have. Probate attorneys, however, have those resources because this is what they do on a regular basis.
Contact Illinois Probate Attorneys
Please join us for a FREE upcoming seminar. If you have questions or concerns regarding the probate of an estate and/or whether you should hire a probate attorney to help you fulfill your role as Executor, contact an experienced Illinois probate attorney at Hedeker Law, Ltd. by calling (847) 913-5415 to schedule an appointment.