Probate means obtaining proof from court that one or more people are the proper executors or trustees of an estate. You do not need to retain the lawyer that drafted the will and can find a new lawyer to help you with this. It is important that you are comfortable with whichever lawyer you pick as you will be working closely with this lawyer through the estate administration process. The lawyer represents the trustees, not the beneficiaries.
No one wants to probate obtain probate as avoiding probate can avoid the payment of taxes and legal fees. Unfortunately, probate may be necessary to access funds in a bank account, sell estate property, or prove the validity of a will. If a probate matter is simple, Katzman Estate Law may be able to take your case on a flat fee rather than an hourly basis. If you already have access to estate funds, you may be able to use estate funds to pay a lawyer to obtain probate for you. If you paid a lawyer in advance to obtain probate for you, you may be able to reimburse yourself from estate funds after probate is granted.
Probating a will may also involve the payment of the Estate Administration Tax, which is a small percentage of the estimated value of the estate. You are supposed to pay this amount when applying for probate. Sometimes, the court will allow you to delay paying the Estate Administration Tax until after probate is granted, but a lawyer will have to help you to make an application for this relief.
Being an estate executor or trustee can be a difficult job. While being a trustee comes often comes with power and discretion, even before probate is granted, it also comes with significant legal liability. You can be sued by creditors and beneficiaries for failing to perform your duties properly. You will likely need legal advice to guide you through the estate administration process, as discussed in the section below.