Many experts recommend you hire a probate attorney in Marshfield, WI if you find yourself the executor of a will. There are times when an attorney of this type is not necessary, yet many people don’t understand when one is needed and one isn’t. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you hire a probate attorney in Marshfield, WI to determine if you really need one or if you can do the work yourself.
1. Can assets be transferred without going through probate? The answer to this question depends on how much estate planning the deceased did and other factors. Were the assets held in survivorship community property, joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety? If they were, probate is not required and the same is true if assets were held in a living trust. If the assets have a named beneficiary, this step may also be avoided.
2. Is any family member threatening to contest the will? If this is the case, you need legal representation immediately. The attorney will step in and try to resolve issues without taking the case to court as a lawsuit often does irreparable harm to a family, costing a great deal of money in the process.
3. What types of assets are held in the estate? Common assets, or those most people own, typically don’t require you go through probate. Common assets include items such as homes, vehicles, household goods and bank accounts. When the deceased owns commercial real estate, a business or things of that nature, you’ll want to seek the advice of an attorney for a variety of reasons, such as having a business appraised.
4. What is the probate process in your state? In states where the Uniform Probate Code is used, the process is very simple and the court has minimal involvement. If your state has yet to adopt this code, you’ll find an attorney to be of great assistance in moving through the court system. This depends in part on where you live and where the deceased lived.
5. Does the estate have enough money to pay any outstanding debts? If the answer is yes, you most likely won’t need legal assistance. If there isn’t enough money to pay all bills though, you’ll want to consult with an attorney to determine which bills must be paid and which can be deferred or not paid at all.