elderly couple holding hands on beach


Probate Law

After a death, an attorney can be of assistance in the following areas:

  • Reading and explaining the will
  • Reviewing issues of Social Security
  • Reviewing issues of Veteran’s benefits
  • Reviewing life insurance policies
  • Reviewing the ownership of property and property transfers near the time of the death of the individual
  • Reviewing matters of real estate
  • Reviewing bank and investment accounts regarding probate or automatic transfers to joint owners and beneficiaries without the need for probate
  • Stock and bonds
  • Income tax reporting
  • Safe deposit box
  • Automobile titles. These can be transferred without probate
  • Inheritance tax. Generally inheritance tax is applied only to very large estates. The fee on Probate estate assets is less that 4% on an estate valued at $100,000 ($362.50)
  • Debts. Certain debts are the responsibility of the probate estate. Advice is needed as to what the obligation of the estate is for individual debts of the deceased
  • Procedures must be followed regarding notification of creditors
  • Procedures must be followed regarding notification of heirs and beneficiaries in a will
  • Certain procedures must be followed for making claims against the estate for any debt owed by the decedent
  • Court rules apply regarding rights of the surviving spouse and minor children regarding living expenses, exempt property, priorities
  • Trusts. The planning, drafting, and use of a trust for preservation of assets require careful legal analysis. A trust based estate plan generally costs more than a will based plan because of the extent and value of the assets. A review and discussion with an attorney is essential and care should be made to avoid “trust mills” and “trust kits” which are provided by marketing and promotional campaigns designed to sell a product without careful consideration of individual circumstances
  • Funeral home arrangements