Lawyers might be expensive but they’re also essential to have on hand from time to time. Estate attorneys can save you a lot of headaches, and can even help you hold on to personal properties that otherwise would be confiscated. Here are some situations when you shouldn’t wait to hire one.
When There’s a Fight Over Assets
When somebody passes away, they typically leave certain assets behind. Some things might be worth a lot financially. Others may have sentimental worth, even though they have little monetary value. Regardless, you don’t want to leave either behind because of a legal technicality.
Most of the time, a properly filed last will and testament or trust will ensure that the right people receive the right assets but that’s not always the case. If it looks like you’re going to have to fight to make sure the assets go to the right person–whether it’s the government, debt collectors, or with family members–you’re going to want an estate attorney.
When There’s No Will
On the other hand, if you don’t have legal paperwork already done when a loved one passes, you might be in for a rough time. Someone passing without a will in place means their assets are much more vulnerable to manipulation or seizure. Probate (when the government takes assets that have not properly passed on and then decides in court what will happen to them) can be an exhausting ordeal. A probate court proceeding will take even longer in the absence of a will.
When Preparing For the Worst
Even if you and your loved ones don’t appear to be at risk of dying soon, it’s best to plan ahead to avoid situations like this. You never know when a tragedy might strike. As unpleasant as it is to think about, you need to get ready. The best thing you can do is to prepare a last will and testament as soon as possible. The way to make absolutely sure that it is legally binding is to go through the process with an estate lawyer. You will be far less likely to make costly mistakes.
Many local estate attorneys will have quick, free consultancies. Others will post their rates (especially for specific tasks they do regularly, like writing a will) on their websites. Call around and do your research. Talk to people you know who have been through the process to know what’s best for you.
Did you enjoy this article? Here’s more to read: WHY YOU NEED A LAWYER TO SETTLE AN ESTATE