Can you handle probate without a lawyer?

Updated on February 17, 2020

The only thing certain in life is that eventually, it ends. Unfortunately, when it comes to the proper distribution of the assets of the diseased, things are more complicated. Even though you might be still mourning your loved one, probate proceedings are required to fulfil the will of the dead person. It is often not an easy task. In a second you’ll learn if you can handle probate without a lawyer. Let’s go!

What is probate & is it required?

After the death of the deceased, all the property of the deceased is to be distributed to the beneficiaries mentioned in the last will. The court is responsible for overseeing if there aren’t any frauds or discrepancies involved. It is usually the case that certain assets, like real estate, can skip probate if its value is below a level specified by local laws. It is also possible that probate might be required even if there is no last will of the deceased.

How long does probate take?

Depending on the number of the assets, and the content of the last will, probate proceedings could take months or even years. Unfortunately, there is a lot of paperwork involved, which then has to be accepted by the court as legally binding, which takes a lot of time, especially if there are multiple beneficiaries. The case could be even more convoluted if the deceased held assets in countries abroad – you would need the help of the experts with the knowledge of how the process goes in both countries.

That’s why, for many people, an inheritance cash advance is a better idea. How does it work? A company that funds inheritance advances gives a portion of a sum that a person would receive after the probate is finished. It is sometimes called a “probate loan”, because you get the money almost instantly, though you won’t receive the same amount as you would normally receive. If you are in financial troubles and need money fast, then it could be a perfect option. This way, you won’t have to wait long months or even years before your situation improves.

Can you handle probate on your own without hiring a lawyer? 

The answer is: it depends. You might need the help of a lawyer with:

  • Transferring the ownership of the assets. Depending on the type of the assets that the deceased owned, changing the legal ownership might require quite a bit of knowledge. If it’s real estate and accounts only, then you can figure things out on your own, just with the help of the internet. If the deceased person owned a business, then it’s best to hire an expert to avoid making any mistakes during the process.
  • Dealing with the debts. If the deceased person had some debts, they would need to be paid off before you can proceed with the distributing of the assets to the beneficiaries. If it happens so, that there are more debts than there are assets, then it is better to contact a lawyer, rather than trying to deal with such a situation on your own.
  • Closing an estate. After you are done with all the necessary parts, you’ll need to present the documentation in court. Depending on the number of the assets of the deceased, it might be quite a challenging task for someone who doesn’t have much experience. That’s why, even if you’ve managed to deal with the previous steps, it is recommended to contact an expert that will ensure that everything is done correctly.

What happens now

After the death of a family member, dealing with the paperwork is the last thing we would want to do. Still, if a deceased had some valuable assets, probate might be required. Although it is a lengthy process, it exists to ensure that everything is distributed to all the beneficiaries according to the last will. Is it possible to handle probate without the help of a lawyer? Yes, but even if you think that you would be able to deal with most parts, it’s best to hire an expert to ensure that there aren’t any mistakes in the documentation. Otherwise, this process could take even longer.

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