A will is essential in making sure that all of your final wishes are carried out, but there are a lot of myths about wills that cause people to avoid getting them done. Just like life insurance, people do not feel like a will is something that they have to worry about right now. But the one thing life insurance and a will have in common is that when you need them and you do not have them, your family will suffer the consequences.

A Will Is Something I Have To Do

Perhaps the most significant myth that causes people to avoid getting their wills done is the pressure they put on themselves about what a will represents. The idea of getting a will done is so built-up in the person's mind that they get intimidated by it and avoid doing it.

The best way to handle this type of hesitation is to talk with someone who has had a will done and get details on the process. Once a hesitant person understands how simple it is to have a will done, they will do what they have to do to protect their family.

I'm Not Ready To Take Care Of That Yet

There are two things people tend to avoid throughout their lives; doing their will and buying their cemetery plot. The prevailing attitude is that taking care of a will is something that is done later in life, and now is not that time.

Life is a fragile thing, and you never know what can happen from day to day. If you suddenly pass away without a will on file, then your family may have to spend money on an attorney to fight for your estate in court. A will is something done to take care of your last wishes, and you never know when you will need it. That is why it is important to take care of getting your will done right now.

Not Having A Will Is Not A Big Deal

This is another powerful myth and significant reason why people avoid having their wills done. If you have property you want to make sure gets distributed in a particular way after you have passed on, then the only way to do that is through a will.

After your estate passes through probate court, control of your possessions could wind up with just about anyone in your family. If you want your family taken care of and your personal interests honored after you have passed away, then a will is the only way to do that.

I Have No Idea Where To Start With A Will

Your lawyer is the best place to start when it comes time to getting a will put together. Even if your attorney does not handle wills, they will have someone you can talk to that they trust to help you take care of this important part of your estate.

When you spend a lifetime building up an estate and looking after your family, you want to make sure that your estate and your family are properly cared for after you are gone. Instead of hoping that everything goes like you want it to in probate, you should force the situation to go the way you want it to by having your will in place.

Estate administration is time-consuming work, which is why most families let the family lawyer take care of the entire process. But it is always a good idea for at least a couple family members to be involved in the process and understand the types of details that have to be attended to when administering an estate. The attorney will be relying on the family for certain items and pieces of information, so the family should be prepared to provide that information.

Death Certificates

Collecting death certificates is not something that family members look forward to, but it is necessary to close out certain accounts and collect on the life insurance. If the deceased was collecting a Social Security check each month, then the Social Security Administration will need a death certificate. You will need to secure a death certificate for each financial organization the deceased did business with, and most of those organizations require original certificates and not copies.

The Will

If the deceased drafted their will with one attorney and then changed attorneys later in life, then the family will have to locate the will and get it to the estate administrator. This is something that needs to be taken care of immediately because most probate courts require that the will be filed no later than 30 days after the deceased's passing for the will to be valid.

Surrogate Certificates

In order for the family attorney to be the estate administrator, the probate court must approve surrogate certificates for the attorney. These are the official documents from the court that name that attorney as the executor and administrator of the estate. They can also become a point of contention among family members who want to see a different administrator named instead of the attorney.

Most wills spell out who the administrator of the estate will be, and that is the person the probate court normally assigns the surrogate certificates to. But if there is anyone in the family willing to challenge that assignment, then the family could be in for a very long court battle.

Distributing Assets

One of the biggest mistakes family members make is taking items from the deceased's estate without permission from the administrator. The will and the probate courts will work together to decide how the assets of the deceased will be distributed. In most cases, the assets may have to be liquidated to pay the debts of the deceased, especially if there is no life insurance or large savings account.

The family must get together and agree to not distribute assets on their own without the guidance of the estate administrator. Any family member who takes items before they are officially distributed would be looking at being challenged in court by either the other family members, or the estate administrator themselves.

The smart thing to do when it comes to estate administration is to allow the family attorney to take care of everything. But even the most organized attorney is going to need help from the family to get the estate through probate and make the final distribution of assets. A family that works together can make sure that the deceased's estate is administered with respect, and that the final wishes of the deceased are followed to the letter.

In the practice of law, attorneys assume positions of immense responsibility on behalf of the people they represent. Contract law requires that attorneys give an accurate description of contract clauses to their clients. An inaccurate clause representation could cost the client thousands of dollars and even ignite a lawsuit against the attorney.

Another area of law where the attorney takes on tremendous responsibility is in setting up and administrating guardianships. When people think of guardians, they often think of a non-parental relationship with a child. But more often than not, a guardian arrangement is administered by an attorney, and the client is not a child.

A Minor

While not every client in a guardianship is a child, it is still true that children make up a large portion of those covered by guardianship arrangements. While every court in every state would like to make sure that children in need of guardians get the help they need, getting a guardianship approved is not always a slam dunk.

Children in need of guardians are often orphaned, disowned by their parents, or have won a legal agreement to be separated legally from their parents. In these instances, the state will look for a responsible adult to step up and become the child's guardian. While the hope is that a family member will step in to care for the child and take care of the child's legal affairs, courts are sometimes forced to make alternate arrangements.

A Developmentally Disabled Adult

Developmentally disabled children who are unable to take care of their legal and financial needs as they become adults require a legal guardian. Even though many states make provisions to care for developmentally disabled people, there still needs to be someone who looks out for the physical, emotional, and financial well-being of that adult.

An adult who becomes disabled in some way due to an accident or illness may also require a guardian. In these instances, the courts must be careful to consider all of the needs of the adult in question. The adult may feel as though they can make their own decisions and care for themselves, but the reality may be quite different. A good attorney is essential in administering one of the types of guardianship cases.

A Senior In Need Of Assistance

Most states make no assumptions when it comes to the need for guardianship on a senior. It is not assumed that a family member can sign off on paperwork without legal status as a guardian, and it is not assumed that the senior automatically needs a guardian. But, when a senior is diagnosed with an advanced case of dementia or some other debilitating condition, there needs to be a guardianship arrangement in place.

Legal professionals face difficult decisions every day, and they know that their resolutions to those issues directly affect the lives of their clients. In the case of a guardianship, it is important to put a competent adult in place to make decisions on behalf of another person to make sure that the person gets treated fairly and is not cheated out of what they are entitled to. In some cases, that guardian becomes the attorney, and that takes the attorney-client relationship to a whole new level.

When a person passes away, their estate has to pass through probate before property can be distributed to the family. The probate court has a strict process it follows, and anyone with an estate can do their family a great service by making sure that all of their paperwork is in place prior to their passing to make the probate process smoother.

If you want to prepare for estate probate, then you need to understand the different elements of the probate process. It is a legal process that should be navigated by an experienced attorney, but it always helps when the family understands that process and does what it can to be prepared.

Verifying The Will

The first step of any estate probate process is to verify that the deceased's will is genuine. In most cases, this is a routine process that does not take a great deal of time. But if someone decides to contest the will, then this can significantly slow down the probate process. The probate process cannot continue until the will is verified.

Inventorying The Property

A part of the estate probate process that gets taken for granted is doing an official inventory of the deceased party's belongings. Each probate court has its own rules and procedures for inventorying estate property, but it helps if there is a preliminary inventory the court can use as a guide. With the inventory, the court can establish the value of the estate and use that number in such calculations as inheritance and estate taxes.

Appraising Real Estate And Valuables

Believe it or not, one of the more dramatic parts of the estate probate process is appraising the deceased's real estate and valuables. This is the part of the process where the family finds out that the family heirloom that was thought to be worth thousands of dollars is actually worthless. The appraisal process usually happens immediately after the inventory is complete, or goes hand-in-hand with the inventory to help speed the process up a little.

Finalizing Accounts

During probate is when the assets of the estate are used to satisfy debts and pay taxes. If the deceased has a large mortgage that is still outstanding, then the home may have to be sold to pay that mortgage if the estate does not have the funds to take care of it. This part of the probate process can be difficult for the family, and it can also get complicated. It helps to have a competent attorney as the administrator of the estate to help this part of the process go smoothly.

Distribution Of Property

Most people consider an estate to have passed through probate when the remaining property gets distributed to people inside and outside of the family. If the will has been verified, then the remaining assets of the estate are distributed based on the will. If there is no will or the will has not been verified, then the estate is distributed based on state laws.

The idea of an estate passing through probate is not something that people give a lot of thought, but it is an essential part of finalizing the estate. If you want to make the probate process easier on your family, then you should hire a good attorney who can help you to make all of the necessary arrangements while you are still alive.

Estate planning is something that a person takes care of when they want to protect their assets and provide for their family after the person has passed away. Once the person does pass away, the responsibility of administering that estate would fall to whomever the deceased designated in their will. In many cases, the estate administrator is a family member. But there are some good reasons why estate administration is something that should be done by the family lawyer instead.

The Process Can Be Overwhelming

It does not take a large estate for an estate administrator to become overwhelmed. In most cases, estate administrators are family members with little to no legal experience who do not understand what is expected of them. If the estate has to pass through probate, then that adds another layer of confusion and anxiety. An attorney understands estate administration and can handle the process easily and smoothly.

The Paperwork Is Confusing

In any state, the paperwork involved with administering an estate is very confusing. Sometimes it can feel like you are filling out duplicate forms, and that is usually because you are. But if the paperwork is not done properly during estate administration, then there can be problems along the way. The desires of the deceased may not be realized, and the family could be thrown into turmoil. An experienced attorney understands the paperwork involved with estate administration, and can make sure that everything is done properly.

It Is Time Consuming

Most people have jobs and personal lives that would almost have to be put on hold for days, and possibly weeks, to be an estate administrator when a loved one passes away. Attorneys and their staffs are set up to handle the workload that comes with estate administration, and they can get the job done more efficiently that someone who has never handled this sort of thing before. Instead of asking a family member to take on a project that could alter their lives, it is best to have an attorney take care of the entire estate administration process.

It Can Get Personal

A loved one passing away is an emotional event that affects many people in the family. When it comes time to administer the estate, those emotions can often get in the way of doing the right things. It is normal for a family member to try and administer an estate the way they would want it administered, instead of going by the written wishes of the deceased. An experienced attorney understands the emotions involved in administering an estate, and they can wade through those emotions and get things done as the deceased would have wanted them done.

When a loved one passes away, the grief and anguish can last for a very long time. That is why asking a family member to administer the estate of a deceased loved one is often asking more than is possible. Emotions can get in the way, and the confusing process itself can become overwhelming for anyone who is not experienced in how estate administration works.

As you plan out your estate and put together your will, it is a good idea to make your family attorney the estate administrator. Your attorney can get the job done, and prevent the intense emotions from getting in the way of carrying out your final requests.

Get a Free Case Evaluation
Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers today by filling out the form below, or call us at  718-667-1301

    Why Choose Us?
    Our firm has a well-earned reputation for providing our clients with informed representation when they need it most. No matter the legal issue you are facing, we will put the law to work for you.
    Our clients have experienced great success after working with us, and we are proud to have helped them move forward in a positive direction.
    Personalized Attention
    We believe that an educated client is our best client and encourage your participation. Our attorneys are readily available to respond to your questions and return all calls promptly.