There are more different branches of legal practice than ever before. Law is becoming more and more specialized as it becomes increasingly complicated. For that reason, it can be very difficult for individuals to navigate legal issues, and to know when it’s really necessary to get hired help.
What exactly does a probate solicitor do? Is it necessary for you to hire one? Can you take care of your particular situation on your own?
What a Probate Solicitor Does
Probate solicitors and probate attorneys deal with the legal practice of handling many issues and matters resulting from a person’s death. If a family member of yours has died, this legal practice could assist in these sometimes complicated matters. Many times, individuals aren’t fully prepared for death. Sometimes, people don’t have a will worked out. Even in cases where a will has been drawn up, they can be difficult to locate, or they may be so old that much of the information is invalidated. At other times, individuals may leave behind very complicated financial issues. Perhaps there are many properties, businesses, and even foreign bank accounts.
The role of an attorney in this practice is to handle much of the work involved in getting these legal and financial matters sorted out. They will understand exactly how each and every situation should be handled. These professionals are also responsible for ensuring that taxes are handled appropriately. As much as possible, this kind of solicitor will work to minimize estate taxes. Someone working in this specialized legal practice will understand the best ways to minimize taxes. This can ensure that everyone receives the largest inheritance possible.
When to Hire a Solicitor for Probate Matters
Of course, dealing with a death in the family can be a very stressful matter. As was mentioned above, in many cases, preparations aren’t really made to the extent that would be most helpful. However, it’s not always necessary to hire a solicitor. For example, there are many estates that are far too simple to require legal assistance. Honest solicitors in this practice will inform you if your situation is simple and won’t require legal assistance. Really, the job of an individual in this profession is to handle these matters responsibly, and ultimately, in a way that will save the family members from unnecessary expenses. This includes helping you to avoid legal fees and taxes.
For example, if your loved one has a recent will, only one beneficiary, and uncomplicated financial circumstances, it probably won’t be necessary to hire a professional to assist with the estate.
However, there are also many circumstances which could easily make it more financially wise to hire a solicitor. If you aren’t familiar with probate law, you could easily save money by hiring a solicitor in many instances. Cases where an individual has a very large estate would be best handled with the help of a professional. If your loved one left behind a very large inheritance, you would do well to contact a solicitor to find out if assistance should be used. If your loved one has left behind a very large sum money, you could have difficult to navigate tax issues. If this is not handled properly, you could lose a lot of money in the form of a heavy tax burden.
It would also be wise to seek help from a specialized professional if your loved one did not leave behind a will. In this instance, it can be very difficult to reasonably work out matters. If the assets that are left are not easily divisible, this can be a very complicated matter to work out, especially if the deceased is survived by a few family members or dependants that could reasonably be considered to deserve a portion of the estate. In cases such as this, you can’t simply come to a verbal agreement with the family members and dependants. This could easily create complicated and expensive legal issues in the future. At the very least, contact a solicitor for advice.
If your loved one appears to have left behind a will, but there are doubts about its validity, you are likely to need assistance from a legal professional. If the will has been forged, there will no doubt be disputes between members included in the false will, and those not included. A legal professional can help to determine if the will is valid or not. If it has been forged, additional legal action will be necessary.
If you or someone close to the loved one has been left out of the will, it would also be wise to get assistance from a solicitor with specialized training in this area of the law. The last will is not always the ultimate authority as to how assets will be divided. Dependants of the deceased will, in some cases, have a claim for support from the estate. These matters should not be ignored as these dependants deserve assistance from the estate.
What Can You Do to Financially Prepare for a Loved One’s Death?
If you want to make sure that things aren’t complicated when an aging or ill loved one eventually passes, there are a great number of things that you can do to make things simpler. First, it’s always helpful for this loved one to prepare a will. If financial and legal matters are complicated, it may even be helpful to seek legal assistance with these documents at this stage. It’s very important to begin gathering important financial documents. If investment accounts exist, be sure to keep statements that will be arriving. There are cases where accounts are forgotten. To be sure this doesn’t happen, ask your loved one where they have accounts so that you know which institutions to contact. It may also be helpful to gather information from these accounts on what the process is for withdrawing or transferring ownership of these assets. These procedures are sometimes complicated and very time consuming. Of course, a solicitor can give you specific advice on how to prepare.