After the death of a testator (the owner of an estate) the individual’s estate undergoes probate. This process, which is usually expensive, time-consuming and stressful, is done for a few reason one of which is to determine the validity of a will.
To navigate the probate process without much difficulty, you’ll need the help of a good probate attorney. If you are named as the estate executor, you will need the help of this professionals when handing the probate process.
However, before you go ahead and hire a probate lawyer, you need to know the cost. You certainly don’t expect a professional like a probate lawyer to work for you pro bono.
In this article, we’ll consider who a probate lawyer is. But first off, let us take a look at what probate is.
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process carried out to determine the authenticity of a will and administer a deceased’s estate after death. The probate process can be time-consuming, stressful, and costly. So, it would be wise to create an estate plan that bypasses this process.
Who is a Probate Lawyer?
A probate lawyer is a state licensed individual skilled in handling matters related to probate. This professional works with the beneficiaries and executors of an estate to ensure that the probate process is done smoothly, without any hindrance or difficulties. In some cases estate owners can ensure that their estate avoid probate by creating a trust. A trust will facilitate the easy transfer of assets without probate.
Below are some available options to avoid probate.
Options Available to Avoid Probate
If you wish to avoid the probate process, you can select from the below options. Contact a competent attorney for advice.
You can set up a living will to bypass probate for any asset you own, such as real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, etc. You need to create a trust document (it is like a will), designating someone to assume the position of trustee after your death (called successor trustee). Then, you must transfer ownership of your property to yourself as the trustee of the trust. As soon as all that is done, the property will be controlled by the terms used to set up the trust. Upon your death, your successor will be able to transfer it to the trust beneficiaries without the usual probate process.
If you own a property jointly with another individual, and this ownership includes the “right of survivorship,” then whoever is alive between the two owners automatically owns the property when one dies. Probate is not necessary in this case to transfer the property, although it will involve some paperwork to indicate that title to the property is held solely by the surviving owner.
Here are the forms of joint ownership that are available:
Joint tenancy: Property owned in joint tenancy is automatically transferred to the surviving owner when one kicks the bucket. Probate isn’t required to facilitate the process. Joint tenancy is often ideal when couples (married or not) procure real estate, vehicle, bank accounts, or other valuable property together. In New York, each owner, regarding as joint tenant, must own the same share.
Tenancy by the entirety: this type of joint ownership is similar to joint tenancy. However, it is allowed only for married couples. In some states, tenancy by the entirety is allowed just for just real estate.
How Much Does Hiring one Cost?
The fee associated with hiring a probate lawyer is not constant. It depends on the probate lawyer and how the individual charges clients. Probate lawyers charge their hourly, or using a flat rate.
This is regarded as one of the common methods by which probate lawyers charge their clients. Hourly rate depends on the experience of the lawyer in question and where you reside. If you live in rural area, the lawyer may charge you $150 per hour. However in urban areas, you are likely to be charged around $200 per hour and upwards.
An experienced attorney is quite aware of the stress involved in handling a probate profess. So this individual charges a lump sum. The money varies and it largely depends on the wok at hand and the type of probate lawyer.
Need a Probate Attorney?
Need a probate attorney? Don’t hesitate to contact our office. We boast of competent probate attorneys who have the experience needed to navigate the probate process.