If you’re thinking about filing for probate, there are a few things you should know. Petitioning the court to administer an estate is not always simple or straightforward, especially if someone has died intestate (without a will). That’s why you should hire a lawyer when you need assistance with the complexities of inheritance law. Here are three reasons why hiring an experienced probate lawyer can help make your life easier.
1) You’ll want to protect yourself from undue influence
Undue influence is when someone uses their position of power over another person – either through common-law relationships like marriage or by asserting false legal authority over them – to coerce them into making important decisions against their own will. Whether it happens before or after the deceased has passed away, several different types of coercion might be used.
In a probate case, heirs may try to coerce you into renouncing your interest in the estate or agreeing to have the will changed in their favor. They might also tell you that you don’t need an attorney and even attempt to interfere with your communication with your lawyer (which is something called direct or indirect contact) because they want control over the entire situation and make every decision on their terms.
2) Fights can break out if there are no clear instructions
Everyone who inherits property must have access to a valid copy of the original will. It serves as proof that they’re legally entitled to whatever was left behind and helped to avoid any potential disputes. If, however, people are unaware of the original will’s whereabouts or validity – perhaps because they were left out of it entirely – things can quickly turn sour. Whether you choose to accept your share of the estate or renounce it in favor of another heir, others might still contest that decision by accusing you of forging or altering the original will. For instance, a probate lawyer Orlando-based can handle all the paperwork and legal documentation and they will protect your interests from this kind of abuse.
3) Trusts can complicate inheritance procedures
At first glance, trusts may seem like a good idea for anyone looking to distribute their assets after death. You’ll need an attorney familiar with the intricate details of estate law and trusts to walk you through this process. For instance, if the deceased established a trust for their beneficiaries and named themselves trustees, they can maintain control over assets even after they die. Some states have laws against posthumously interfering with someone’s property, while others do not. An experienced attorney in probate law will answer any questions you might have about how these arrangements work in practice.