How Can a Succession Attorney Help?
You may have found yourself wondering how a succession attorney can help you if a loved one has passed. You may even be wondering what a succession attorney even is. A succession attorney is just another name for a probate attorney.
As the old saying goes, you can’t take it with you when you die. A succession attorney is there to help your surviving family members settle your debts and distribute your assets when you’re gone, with or without a will. Just what do they do?
What Does a Succession Attorney do?
The truth is, what a succession attorney does is going to depend greatly on if you’ve drafted a will prior to death or not.
When There Is a Will
If you die with a will then a succession attorney can be hired to help advise parties, like the executor of the estate, on various legal matters. An attorney is going to review the will to ensure that the will wasn’t signed or written while under duress. Often elderly people with dementia, for example, could be vulnerable to change their wills before their passing by individuals who want a share of the estate.
An attorney is there to ensure that the will is good and any challenges that come are handled with as little stress as possible
When There Is No Will
If you die without having written and signed a will then you are to have died instate. If this happens then your estate is going to be distributed according to the intestacy laws of the state where your property resides. This is done regardless of your wishes and it is often given to the primary heirs like your spouse and children. There are times that this means each member gets an equal cut to your estate. So, if you died and you had an eight-year-old and a spouse they would share equal assets.
In these situations, a succession attorney can be hired to help administer the estate and the assets will be distributed according to state law. They are bound by state law and must follow it regardless of the decedent’s wishes or the family member’s needs.
How Can A Succession Attorney Help?
Considering you are most likely grieving the death of a loved one, you might not want to gather all the information you need. That is where an attorney can come in and help. Here are some of the tasks an attorney could have ween advising an executor:
- Collecting and managing life insurance proceeds
- Getting the decedent’s property appraised
- Finding and securing all of the decedent’s assets
- Advising you on how to pay the decedent’s bills and settle debt
- Preparing and filing documents as required by probate court
- Managing the estate’s checkbook
- Determining whether any estate taxes are owed