Practice Areas

Probate a Will

The process of administering an estate after the death of a loved one is confusing. It is our purpose to help you through the morass of rules and procedures in a smooth and timely manner. Administering an estate requires an attorney to be knowledgeable not only in the rules of probate, but also in the other ways by which assets can pass to your heirs, whether by beneficiary designation, form of ownership, or operation of law.

Defininition of Probate

Simply stated probate is a process by which a person (Executor) nominated in your Will is appointed by the Court and given authority (Letters Testamentary) to administer your estate by collecting the assets, paying the debts and then distributing the net estate assets according to the instructions in your Will. Probate is a public process and is governed by many complex rules. The rules of probate must be strictly followed to avoid personal liability by the Executor, but need not be overly expensive nor time consuming if handled by an experienced attorney.

Probate Avoidance

Many families prefer to avoid the probate process entirely, and this can be accomplished though the use of living trusts. Living trusts are most often indicated when an individual owns real property in more than one state, has a complex family, or has heirs that are difficult to locate. By avoiding probate the estate often can be administered more quickly and at less expense.

Living trusts are also a useful tool when an individual wishes to remove any chance of a will contest. Because the assets pass outside of probate, no potential beneficiary or excluded individual has a chance to challenge the estate distribution.

Contested Probate

Conflict between family members often leads to litigation in the probate process, and a contested probate or accounting proceeding. Our firm has represented those who wish to contest a Will because it is unfair or the product of over reaching or undue influence. We have also represented those who have been the proponent of a Will and who wish to carry out the wishes of a parent, spouse or other family member. Our experience in contested probate matters may help you to resolve these conflicts in a less contentious and often less expensive manner. We invite you to call us so that we may counsel you further if estate litigation issues arise.

We invite you to contact us for information about the probate process and how we can help you.