What is a Probate Lawyer?
Since we can’t take it with us, as the saying goes, a probate lawyer’s job is to make sure your assets are distributed as you wish after you are gone. Proper execution means developing an effective estate plan, creating your will or living trust, and helping your executor pay the debts and distribute your assets to your beneficiaries.
A probate lawyer, also known as a trust or estate lawyer, performs legal functions that pertain to your will and other necessary documents, powers of attorney, and assistance with the execution of your plan.
Your Estate Plan and Drafting Your Will
A properly created will that represents precisely how your estate is to be handled simplifies the process significantly.
Having no will at the time of your death, known as being “intestate,” can result in confusing and contentious circumstances among the survivors. In these instances, the Legislature decides how your assets will be divided according to the intestacy laws of the state without any consideration for individual needs or expectations.
Your NJ probate lawyer can help you by drafting a will that reflects your wishes entirely. Circumstances can change along the way, and the probate lawyer can also help to legally update your estate plan as your beneficiaries grow, new priorities arise, or your financial circumstances change.
The probate lawyer can help you legally designate a responsible executor to facilitate distribution to the designated recipients when you are gone.
Assisting the Executor
Your executor will assume many responsibilities following your death. The NJ probate lawyer is qualified to help the executor with the many elements of liquidating your estate. These may include:
- Provide appropriate legal advice
- Preparing and filing any documents required by the probate court
- Locating and securing the assets in the estate
- Assisting with the sale of properties
- Identifying and advising debt and tax payments before the distribution of assets
- Managing life insurance proceeds
- Ensuring each beneficiary receives their portion of the assets as designated
In some situations, a qualified probate lawyer may advise the beneficiaries or relatives on legal issues related to the will. This situation might occur when some relatives do not trust the designated executor or how the will had been created. Instances of undue influence occur, and intentions are often challenged in court.
What If There Is No Will?
When no will is in place, an intestate situation occurs. A relative may come forward to be nominated as the “administrator” if the other relatives have no objection. A probate lawyer can assist with formalizing the administrator’s official designation and subsequently assist with preparing documents related to the probate process.
Contact Giuditta Law Offices in Westfield NJ
Postponing the creation of your will or estate plan can become a problem for prospective heirs. Remember accidents and unforeseen illnesses do occur, unfortunately. And, creating a valid and comprehensive will is especially important when underaged or special needs dependents are involved.
Work with a trusted and qualified probate lawyer to create a will that best reflects your (and your spouse’s) wishes.
As time goes by, be sure to update the will whenever your circumstances and priorities change.
In Westfield, Union County, New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas A. Giuditta III to assist with all estate planning and probate matters.
Mr. Giuditta is:
- Co-Chair of the Union County Bar Association, Estates, Trusts and Elder Law Committee
- Member of the Union County Bar Association since 2000
- Member of the New Jersey Bar Association since 1988
The firm concentrates its practice in estate planning, probate, estate administration and probate litigation.