What Does a Probate Attorney Do?

Probate attorneys guide their clients through the process of distributing a person’s assets to their heirs upon their death.

What Is a Probate Attorney?

The underlying assets the person who died owns and laws where the person died or owns property will determine the attorney’s role in probate.

What Does a Probate Attorney Do?

Generally, a probate attorney’s duties include the following:

  1. Notifies the beneficiaries or heirs of an asset that the person has died and lets those people know what they will inherit.
  2. Notifies creditors of the estate
  3. Deals with various creditor claims
  4. Notifies various public entities that must be given notice
  5. Helps identify what assets the decedent owned at the time of death
  6. Helps inventory and value the decedent’s assets
  7. Helps with the payment of taxes, if any, to the county, state, or U.S. Treasury
  8. Tries to resolve conflicts among the beneficiaries or heirs of the estate
  9. Distributes the assets of the estate to the heirs or beneficiaries pursuant to court order.

What distinguishes a probate attorney from other attorneys is that a probate attorney transfers assets after an individual dies. He or she may also prepare documents that ensure that the person’s wishes will be followed upon their death.

Occasionally, the probate attorney may be faced with conflicting and/or confusing documents where the intent of the decedent isn’t clear. In that case, a probate attorney may seek court guidance as to what to do, but that is relatively rare. Most estate planning documents are relatively straight forward if they are prepared by an attorney.

Concerned about protecting your assets? If you are in California or live in cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, Albany, Pinole, Crockett, Martinez, El Sobrante, El Cerrito, Vallejo and Richmond and the surrounding areas, give us a call at (510) 724-2020 or contact us.
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