If COVID-19 brought tragedy to your family, a probate lawyer can help you get the financial and legal closure you need to settle an estate.
Here are some of the common issues probate lawyers handle for families coping with unexpected tragedies.
In order for an estate to be legally executed, a probate petition must be filed in probate court. In cases involving wills with clearly defined executors, this process is fairly straightforward. However, not all probate petitions are so simple.
- No Will: Probating an estate without a will can be a lengthy and difficult process. If you can't locate a will, a probate lawyer will need to file a petition with the county court. If the court accepts the petition, a probate hearing date will be set. Once the probate hearing date is established, the potential descendants of an estate must be notified by the individual(s) who filed the petition. Failing to notify an estate potential descendants can lead to subsequent lawsuits. A probate lawyer can help you find long-lost relatives and ensure that certified mail is sent to document your attempts to notify them of impending court dates. Lastly, timing can be crucial when dealing with no-will estates. The first individual to file for a probate hearing may have first claim to the estate's assets.
- No Executor: If an estate's executor cannot be located and/or is unwilling to fulfill their duties, a probate petition will need to be filed to establish a new executor. In these types of cases, compromising on an independent executor can help families avoid potentially emotional and destructive disagreements. Your probate lawyer can help you negotiate with all parties involved to establish an executor on the date of the probate hearing.
In order for a probate hearing to initiate an estate's execution, a death certificate must be obtained. Because the COVID-19 pandemic caused both an increase in deaths and also bureaucratic shutdowns, obtaining a death certificate can take weeks.
- County Coroner: Your probate lawyer can file a petition with your county coroner's office for an immediate release of a death certificate. Filing this type of petition will put pressure on the county coroner's office to produce a death certificate in a timely fashion.
An individual's estate can not be settled until the tax liabilities associated with the estate have been settled. Your probate lawyer can help you file taxes expedited versions of state and federal taxes, even before W2's are mailed out.
For more information, contact a probate lawyer.