Do you need a probate attorney?
When your parent, spouse, or other loved one has passed away, and you find yourself in charge of handling their estate as executor or personal representative, it is overwhelming. I’ve been there, and I know.
Your probate lawyer at Coastal Law can help you to navigate the complex legal issues that often arise in probate and handle the legalities for you while you focus on supporting your family and recovering from your loss.
Your probate attorney can answer your questions including:
- What documents do I need to file?
- How do I settle the estate?
- How do I collect debts that are owed to the estate and pay debts owed by the estate?
- What happens when there is a disagreement with a beneficiary?
- Can I avoid probate altogether?
What is a Probate Lawyer?
Your probate administration lawyer at Coastal Law can help you to:
- Prepare and file the necessary documents with the probate court,
- Identify, negotiate, and pay any estate debts or taxes (or understand which debts do not need to be paid),
- Defend against creditor claims when appropriate, preserving as much of the estate as possible for distribution to the heirs,
- Assist in collecting any debts that are owed to the estate, increasing the amount of assets in the estate whenever possible for distribution to the heirs,
- Collect life insurance proceeds for distribution to beneficiaries,
- Install or remove an executor or personal representative when appropriate,
- Challenge the misuse or misapplication of estate assets by an executor,
- Resolve disagreements between executors, trustees, and beneficiaries,
- Make final disbursements to beneficiaries, and
- Close the estate.
Can you avoid the probate process completely?
There are some situations where it is not necessary to go through the probate court, and, in some cases, this can be prearranged using trusts and estate planning.
In most cases, the probate process runs smoothly, and most disputes can be mediated successfully without litigation.
In some cases, however, lawsuits may be filed against the estate that must be defended or lawsuits must be filed on behalf of the estate to recover funds that now belong to the heirs and beneficiaries.
- When no will or estate plan clearly conveys the deceased’s wishes, potential beneficiaries may file suit against the estate to recover funds or property,
- When there is a will, potential beneficiaries may file suit to challenge the will or specific provisions in the will and recover additional funds or property for themselves,
- When money is owed to the estate, your probate attorney may need to file suit to recover those funds for distribution to the heirs, or
- The probate court may be requested to remove an executor or personal representative who is unavailable, unwilling to act, or refuses to follow the deceased’s wishes.
What is an Estate Planner?
Probate administration happens after the person has passed away. In many cases, it makes sense to meet with your probate attorney before the unthinkable happens to create an estate plan intended to 1) preserve your assets for family members and 2) avoid litigation whenever possible.
For example, a comprehensive estate plan could include:
- A simple or complex will that names the beneficiaries, identifies the executor and an alternate executor, and appoints guardians for any minor children,
- Appointment of a conservator to make decisions on behalf of a person who is incapacitated,
- Powers of attorney appointing a trusted family member or friend to make 1) financial decisions when the person becomes incapacitated, 2) make healthcare decisions when the person becomes incapacitated, or 3) make end-of-life decisions when the person becomes incapacitated,
- An asset protection plan to protect either personal or business assets and ensure that they go to the person’s chosen beneficiary,
- A business succession plan to ensure the family business stays in the family after death,
- Special needs trusts designed to provide for a disabled family member’s financial needs, or
- The combination of various trusts and legal documents to achieve a person’s goals, preserve their assets, and ensure that their assets are transferred to the beneficiaries of their choice either before or after death.
A probate lawyer is also an estate planner, and probate administration is often simplified by careful estate planning in advance…
We are probate administration attorneys in Myrtle Beach, SC.
If your loved one has passed away, and you need immediate help to get you and your family through this difficult process, call your probate administration attorney at Coastal Law for a free consultation to find out how we can help.
We are also estate planning attorneys in Myrtle Beach, SC.
One thing is certain in life: whether we like it or not, our life will end sooner or later. The problem is, none of us can say with certainty when our lives will end. It is never too soon to begin the estate planning process.
If we want to ensure the best likelihood that our wishes are not challenged in the probate court and that our assets are transferred to our family members, friends, or other beneficiaries of our choosing, it is important to make plans in advance. Your estate planning attorney at Coastal Law can help you to craft a comprehensive estate plan tailored to achieve your goals.
Estate Planning and Probate Attorneys in Myrtle Beach, SC
Whether you are the executor of an estate who needs help immediately or you wish to put a proactive estate plan in place to protect your assets for those who matter the most, call a Myrtle Beach Probate and Estate Planning Attorney at Coastal Law now at (843) 488-5000 or send us a message online to find out how we can help.