Thinking about or planning for your death may be a difficult subject, but if you are ready to take the plunge and start looking for a reputable probate attorney to help your loved ones in the event of your death, here are some things to consider.

What is a probate attorney?

An experienced probate attorney will have experience in dealing with estate planning and probate issues. They can also advise on how to best handle your estate plan and other legal aspects of your life. They can assist you with drafting your will, give you advice on powers of attorney, and help the executor of your estate through the probate process. However, usually they become involved after your death, and they assist families through that process. 

What they can do for you depends on whether you have a will in place upon your death. However, some services they can provide to your family in their time of need includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Preparing/filing documents as required
  • Transferring possession of property
  • Advising on disbursement of life insurance policies
  • Assisting with locating a CPA or Tax Advisor for advise on inheritance tax issues
  • In some cases, serve as executor of your estate

With the help of the certified probate attorney, you can get a better understanding of your estate plan and how it will be handled. Probate describes the legal process of proving that a person’s will and wishes will be honored by the court. It defines the credibility of the will (if any exists) and administers the assets of the deceased person accordingly, first to give off creditors and tax agencies, then to the specified beneficiaries.

Will or No Will?

If you have a will upon your death, a probate attorney will review the will and make sure that it was properly executed by all parties and not done so under any kind of duress. Usually, most wills go through probate with little to no problems. However, should problems arise, probate attorneys can help you out. In fact, probate lawyers are often hired for cases where the will is disputed or has been lost or stolen. Probate attorneys are also trained to deal with cases involving property damage, inheritance of property and/or assets, and other legal issues.

If there is not a will present, a probate attorney can still help you. When this happens, your estate is divided based on your state’s specific probate laws, Louisiana being one with very specific laws on the subject. In these situations, a probate lawyer may be hired to help the administrator of the estate navigate the probate process but is bound to follow the laws for that specific state, regardless of the deceased wishes.

What Should I Ask?

No one, not even the probate attorney, will tell you that this process of transferring property by publishing the will—or dealing with the lack of one—is a simple task. But when it comes to your assets and wealth, an experienced probate attorney can be a great resource. If you haven’t already considered hiring an attorney, here are some questions you may want to ask a probate attorney before hiring one.

  • Are they knowledgeable in probate law? How many cases have they taken on in the past?
  • How much does the lawyer charge?
  • How does the lawyer intend to handle your specific case?
  • What can the lawyer do to ease the minds of your loved ones during this process?

Upon your death, a probate attorney can be your family’s lifeline in a very tumultuous time. This “light in the dark” can assist your family and/or the executors of your estate navigate the probate court system to ensure that your wishes are respected. If you or your family are looking for an experienced, dedicated probate attorney, look no further than Latiolais Law Firm. This conversation can be difficult, but with Emily Latiolais on your side, you can rest assured that your family will have an advocate in their corner.