What Does an Estate Lawyer Do After Death?

Estate planning lawyers help their clients plan for what will happen to their property and assets after they die. This includes creating wills and trusts and ensuring that all of the client’s financial affairs are in order. 

Estate attorneys also help implement their clients’ decisions about who will inherit their property and how much they will inherit. Ultimately, estate lawyers provide peace of mind to their clients by helping them plan for the future and ensuring their wishes will be fulfilled after they are gone.

While some estate lawyers will help with the probate process after death, most of an estate planning attorney’s responsibilities occur before their clients pass away. It’s also important to note that even if an estate lawyer assists with probate administration, most do not also handle probate disputes or litigation.

Who Notifies the Bank When Someone Dies?

When a person dies, their bank accounts typically need to be closed. In some cases, the executor of the estate will be responsible for notifying the bank. However, if the account is jointly owned by another person, it may be up to them to inform the bank. In other cases, it may be the responsibility of a beneficiary named in the account holder’s will. It’s essential to check with the bank to determine their specific requirements. 

What Happens to the Deceased’s Bank Account?

When someone dies, what happens to their bank account? It depends on how the account is set up.

Most joint accounts include a right of survivorship, which allows the surviving joint owner to become the sole owner of the account when the other joint owner dies. Likewise, if the deceased was the sole owner of the account and they have chosen a beneficiary using a payable on death (POD) or transferable on death (TOD) designation, then the beneficiary will inherit the funds in the account. 

When assets in a bank account are passed through survivorship or a beneficiary designation, they are excluded from the probate process. This means that the terms of the will are irrelevant to who receives the money. 

However, if the deceased was the sole owner of the account and they have not designated a beneficiary, then the account will be closed, and the funds will become part of the estate. The same is true if they were a joint owner of an account without a right of survivorship. This means the money will be distributed according to the terms of the will or, if there is no will, according to the state’s laws of intestate succession.

Does an Estate Lawyer Handle Probate or Trust Administration?

Generally, no.

Estate planning lawyers help their clients plan for the distribution of their assets after death. This process typically involves creating wills and trusts, which can be vital to ensuring that one’s final wishes are carried out. 

However, estate planning lawyers do not typically handle the probate or trust administration process. That is usually handled by a probate or trust attorney. However, some attorneys do provide both estate planning and assistance with basic probate or trust administration.

Does an Estate Lawyer Handle Will Contests and Trust Disputes?


If you need to contest a will or resolve a trust dispute, you will need to hire a probate litigation lawyer. Estate planning lawyers create documents such as wills to trusts, but they typically do not handle will contests or disputes. And while they have knowledge of probate law, they are typically not well-versed in the litigation process. 

While some estate lawyers try to handle will contests and trust disputes, it’s crucial to find a lawyer with knowledge in this area in order to resolve your issue. Hiring a lawyer who is not familiar with the complexities of probate litigation law could result in an unsuccessful outcome for your case. Therefore, it is paramount that you hire the right type of lawyer for your needs.

Probate litigation lawyers are better equipped to handle disputes that arise during the administration of an estate because they have the necessary knowledge and experience to handle these complicated matters. When dealing with conflicts involving a will or trust, it is vital to consult with a lawyer who focuses on this complex area of law. 

Have questions? We’re happy to discuss.
Call (424) 320-9444 or email [email protected]

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About RMO Lawyers, LLP

RMO LLP provides personal and efficient inheritance dispute services to individual and institutional clients. The firm’s attorneys focus on probate litigation involving contested trust, estate, probate, and conservatorship matters. Serving California and Texas, with offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Orange County, San Diego, Fresno, the Bay Area, Dallas, and Houston. For more information, please visit https://rmolawyers.com/.

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About the Author

Scott Rahn, Founding Partner

Scott Rahn resolves contests, disputes and litigation related to trusts, estates and conservatorships, creating a welcome peace of mind for clients. He represents heirs, beneficiaries, trustees and executors. He utilizes his experience to develop and implement strategies that swiftly and efficiently address the financial issues, fiduciary duties and emotional complexities underlying trust contests, estates conflicts and probate litigation.

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