What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?

When loved ones die, what happens to their estate? Merely having a will or telling trusted family members their wishes may not be enough to ensure that those wishes are granted. The ideas of what the deceased intended may get tangled up in the assumptions and misconceptions of various beneficiaries, and certain laws may override the will of the decedent. A probate lawyer can help the executor of the estate navigate the process of proving who is entitled to what. He or she may also act as a liaison between the beneficiary and an executor.

Gathering Assets

A benefit of seeking probate assistance Beaverton, OR, is that the family gets help gathering the property deeds and rights of their loved one. The probate attorney can help with appraisal and produce an official record of what the estate is worth. 

Paying Debts

Another basic function you can expect a probate lawyer to perform is the handling of outstanding debts. Once the attorney knows how much the estate is worth, he or she can liquidate the assets needed to cover the debt or taxes the decedent owed. This can save the family some unpleasant surprises later when creditors come to collect.

Settling Disputes

One of the most important tasks a probate attorney completes is resolving conflicts between what beneficiaries believe they should get and what is legally, rightfully theirs. Even if there is a will, it may not be up to date. It may include property that has already been sold or bequeath items to people who have died. It may name an executor who is unfamiliar or not on good terms with the family. It may not be in accordance with the state law. Having someone who specializes in estate law to iron out the discrepancies can make all the difference.

Once issues have been resolved, the probate lawyer can distribute the property that remains to the rightful heirs. Squaring away a loved one’s final wishes can go much more smoothly with the right attorney.