Probate Lawyers: What They Do And How They Help?

Probate Lawyers

When somebody passes away, countless legal processes will begin to take place. The distribution of their assets and estate needs to take place in a manner that abides by all state laws, as well as the directions put forth by the deceased. As a will is being followed by the executor or beneficiaries of an estate, the probate process will begin to take place. Here is where a probate lawyer can step in and support executors and beneficiaries – but what exactly does a probate attorney do? Is hiring one really necessary? Read on to find out.

For personalized advice, contact our team at J Mishkin Law today.

Probate Lawyers And Attorneys – Who Are They?

Let’s start with the basics. You might have come across the term ‘probate lawyer’ before, but may not know precisely what one really does. A probate lawyer is a state-licensed attorney who works specifically to help settle the affairs of a decedent. They will work with the executors and beneficiaries of an estate to settle all affairs and make the process simpler. 

In situations where the decedent’s assets have been placed in a trust, then a smooth transfer of property may be able to take place outside of court proceedings and remove the need for probate.

What Does A Probate Lawyer Do?

Probate attorneys are hired to help with the settlement of an estate. Upon the death of a loved one, their estate plan will determine what happens next. In many cases, a will has been written, and probate is needed before an executor can begin distribution. As mentioned, situations that involve trusts instead of wills won’t require probate or a probate lawyer. However, a probate attorney could still support the trustee to administer the trust if extra help is needed. 

Whatever the specifics of your case, a probate lawyer will typically represent either the beneficiary, the personal representative of the estate, or the estate itself. There are countless benefits to working with a probate lawyer, as they will work to achieve many things within the estate settlement. On top of assisting the beneficiaries and executor, a probate attorney can do tasks such as:

  • Identifying estate assets
  • Paying debts and remaining bills
  • Preparing and filing relevant court documents
  • Determining what estate and income taxes could be owed
  • Retitling assets into beneficiaries’ names
  • Collecting proceeds from life insurance policies

What’s The Difference Between A Probate Lawyer And An Estate Attorney?

At times, the terms probate lawyer and estate attorney can be used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference. Depending on the specific circumstances and legal needs of a particular estate, probate lawyers and estate attorneys will be involved in different ways. Probate is a specific legal step that is required before an executor can distribute an estate.

While both work in the same area of law, probate lawyers will be necessary for the probate process after an individual passes away. On the contrary, estate lawyers can be used to help living clients prepare for their passing, including setting up wills, trusts, and other estate planning procedures. Your probate lawyer’s involvement will also depend on how much preparation was done prior to death, as the value of a decedent’s assets and whether or not they had a will can massively affect the overall estate distribution process.

Figuring Out Whether You Need a Probate Lawyer

If the decedent only has a will, then probate is unavoidable. You will need to go through the process, so you need to consider whether professional help is right for you. We would recommend starting to evaluate how complicated the estate itself is, which can help give you an idea of how difficult the probate process will be. The more complicated it is, the more appealing it will be to have an attorney on your side.

It is absolutely possible to go through probate without a lawyer. However, it can be a big task to navigate alone, and one can become quickly overwhelmed. If the decedent’s estate is large or complex enough to have you daunted by the idea of handling probate alone, it’s always good to have an expert on your side. The support and guidance of a great probate lawyer will help ease the pressure of an already difficult time.

Contact J Mishkin Law For A Probate Lawyer You Can Trust

Are you searching for a probate lawyer you can rely on? Do you have questions about what to expect from the probate process? Don’t force yourself to handle this situation alone. Here at J Mishkin Law, we have a team of compassionate and experienced lawyers ready to help you through times like these. Contact us today to discuss your situation and meet with a knowledgeable probate lawyer.


Jonathan Mishkin

Jonathan D. Mishkin focuses his practice on tax/trust controversy, estate planning, taxation and closely-held business advisory services with offices in Portland, Bend and West Linn. Drawing on deep experience gained inside both large accounting firms and large law firms, Mr. Mishkin capably advises and counsels individuals, families and their businesses, and trusts/trustees.


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