When you find yourself fighting for property or inheritance in a probate situation, timing is everything. Here are a few reasons that getting a Lee County probate attorney on your side as quickly as possible will help you in the end.
The number of players in probate cases can quickly become overwhelming
Probate litigation allows any and all parties who believe they have a claim to an estate to participate in the process. Numbers can range from a few to hundreds, depending on the case. If you’re charged with acting as the personal representative to an estate, you’ll need an experienced probate attorney to help wade through the legal waters.
Dealing with creditors and debtors is difficult
As a personal representative to a decedent’s estate, the task of dealing with claims from creditors and debt collectors will fall on to your shoulders. A quality probate attorney can provide sound advice on how to proceed and even how to challenge the validity of a creditor’s claim if you have reason to believe it’s an invalid debt they’re trying to collect.
Alleviating tax concerns can be extremely beneficial
If you’re the recipient of a substantial inheritance, working with a probate attorney early in the process can save you legal and financial woes down the road. Inheritance tax is a complicated specialty of probate attorneys and can be an investment that pays off huge dividends in the form of tax peace of mind.
The last thing family members need to concern themselves with after losing a loved one are complex legal issues centered on estates and inheritances. Qualified probate attorneys can provide both peace of mind and legal security.
While no state, including North Carolina, requires that you hire a probate attorney to manage an estate, it can be extremely helpful to have this kind of legal guidance at your side. Probate can be a complicated and lengthy process if you’re not familiar with it, and in some cases, you may be held personally liable in the event that you make a mistake. This is one of the primary reasons that people choose to hire a Lee County probate lawyer at the outset of the case.
Even small mistakes like failing to send a copy of the petition or a deadline was missed and halt the probate process significantly. It can also damage your relationship with beneficiaries, which is yet another reason why it makes sense to hire a Lee County probate lawyer. While it might be okay to forge ahead without an attorney in the event that you are working with a relatively simple estate, it’s better to engage somebody early on in the event that questions or complications arise. More often than not, people find probate is more complicated than expected.
You should certainly hire a Lee County probate attorney in cases where there is a complex tax situation, where a significant amount of property was left to a minor who requires the appointment of a guardian, situations in which the estate does not have adequate assets to cover debts, disputed claims regarding property, challenges related to unfinished contracts were disputed death, and lack of clarity in the language of the will itself. The bottom line is that while you can handle probate on your own, it’s not recommended that you do so.
If a person believes that there is a reason to contest a will in Lee County, that person will need to file a will contest, also known as a Caveat Proceeding. This person might allege a number of things that would make the will invalid, such as a claim that it’s not the deceased’s most recent will or that the will was not executed according to the law. Another common reason for a will contest is that one person believes that the individual signing the will did not have the mental capacity to do so at the time.
When this happens, the other party has the responsibility for demonstrating that the will was executed according to the law and that it should be considered legally valid. If the individual successfully demonstrates that the person signing the will appeared to have mental capacity to do so, the burden of proof shifts back to the person contesting the will. This individual has to show at least one of the following things about the will in order to be successful: that the will was procured by fraud or undue influence, that the will in question was revoked by a later and valid will, or that there is evidence to rebut the “showing of capacity”.
If a will contest emerges in an estate, it’s important to speak directly with a Lee county probate attorney about your next steps. While it can cause snags in a probate situation, simply knowing what your options are and the best way to proceed is critical.
A will contest might delay the probate of an estate, but you can increase the chances of success by having legal counsel of your own to guide you in preparation for important hearings in the case.