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When a person passes away, their assets must be disbursed in a manner consistent with state laws and with following the directions they put forth when they were alive.

A probate lawyer is a state licensed attorney who works with the executors and the beneficiaries of an estate to settle the affairs of the decedent. In some instances, probate can be avoided if all the decedent’s assets have been placed in a trust, doing so ensures a smooth transfer of property outside of court and legal proceedings.

A probate lawyer is also known as an estate attorney and will be involved in different ways depending on the particular circumstances of that estate. Their involvement will depend on the value of the decedent’s assets and whether or not they had a last will and testament at the time they passed away. In cases where no will exists, beneficiaries file claims and sue for what they believe they are entitled to. In situations where there is a will, challenges may arise as to the validity of the will, also leading to possible litigation.

Specifically, here are some of the common tasks a probate lawyer may assist an executor and beneficiaries with during the probate process:

  • Collecting proceeds from life insurance policies
  • Identifying securing estate assets
  • Obtaining appraisals for the decedent’s real property
  • Assisting in the payment of bills and debts
  • Preparing and filing all documents required by a probate court
  • Determining if any estate or inheritance taxes are due, and making sure those debts are satisfied
  • Resolving income tax issues
  • Managing the estate checking account
  • Transferring assets in the decedent’s name to the appropriate beneficiaries
  • Making a final disbursement of assets to beneficiaries after all bills and taxes have been paid

Raun Muntz O-Grady LLP serves clients in Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Anaheim, Orange County and communities throughout Southern California.

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