Wills are estate planning instruments created by the law to guarantee the rightful beneficiaries control a testator's property after death. Testators use testamentary wills to identify and allocate property and assets to their preferred beneficiaries. However, executing the wishes of a decedent often requires various probate and succession processes. Probate processes vary from one jurisdiction to another because of different state laws.
Performing a decedent's wishes as captured in their will can be a complex process depending on various factors such as the applicable laws and the accuracy of the estate documentation used during administration. Below are a few benefits of consulting an estate administration attorney to ensure decedents' rights and interests are protected in adherence to the law:
Determining The Applicable Law
Estate administration can often present a few challenges that require professional legal assistance. One common problem requiring a competent estate administration attorney is determining jurisdiction and the applicable state law. This is primarily where the decedent lived in one state but acquired properties in another state that they wish to pass to a beneficiary.
Typically, estate administration attorneys may be forced to institute ancillary probate proceedings to determine the applicable state law. The estate administration attorney is experienced and can help clients transfer property to the appropriate beneficiary while following the applicable laws.
Appointing A Personal Representative
Decedents are entitled to select a personal representative or executor of their choice. Personal representatives and executors are legal representatives appointed by the decedent to lead the estate administration process while ensuring the decedent's wishes are followed. Typically, most people prefer their estate planning or estate administration attorneys to serve as their representatives. Estate administration attorneys are well-versed with the decedent's wishes, the applicable laws, and the procedures involved in probate proceedings. The estate administration attorney is competent to serve as a personal representative and protect clients' interests or help clients appoint personal representatives to watch over the estate. Thus, estate administration attorneys ensure that decedents' wishes are executed to their full extent.
Inventorying and Distribution
Estate administration attorneys usually help clients with inventorying and distributing property and assets to the rightful beneficiaries. The estate administration attorney acting as a personal representative or executor files an inventory with all the decedent's property and assets with the court. After preparing and submitting the probate checklist, estate administration attorneys notify creditors and beneficiaries before distributing the property per legal stipulations. Inventorying and distributing a decedent's estate requires a competent legal practitioner to balance the decedents' wishes and the legal position.
For more information, contact an estate administration attorney near you.