Do you need an attorney to settle an estate?

If you read the conventional advice for executors, the first step is usually “hire a lawyer.” You may well decide that you want legal advice from an experienced estate planning lawyer Greensboro NC who’s familiar with both state law and how the local probate court works. However, the lawyers at Hill, Evans, Jordan, & Beatty LLC are here to break it to you: Not all executors need a lawyer to oversee probate court proceedings or even hire a lawyer for limited advice. For example, if the estate you’re handling doesn’t contain unusual assets and isn’t too large, you may be able to get by just fine without a lawyer’s help. Here are some questions that may help you determine if a lawyer will be needed in your estate case or not. 


Are family members getting along? This seems like the most important place to start. If a family member is talking about contesting the will, talk to a lawyer immediately. An attorney for wills will help the estate to obtain and retain as much money as possible by streamlining the expensive and long legal proceedings that follow a suit like this. 


Is there enough money in the estate to pay debts? If the initial investigation reveals that there may not be enough money to cover debts, taxes, and expenses like the funeral, don’t pay any bills before you get legal advice. 


Does the estate contain only common assets, like a house, bank or brokerage accounts, vehicles, and household goods? We recommend that you consult estate planning lawyers Greensboro NC if you need to manage, appraise, or sell a business, for example. Things get much more complicated when an estate includes a business, commercial real estate, or any other asset that requires special ongoing handling. 


If you have any doubts about if a lawyer will be needed to settle your estate, you need never hesitate to ask the team at Hill, Evans, Jordan, & Beatty LLC. In a short consultation, we will be able to tell you either way definitively and you can go forward with peace of mind.