Probate Lawyer Elizabeth, NJ

If you’re going through the probate process, you should get in touch with a probate lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ. Probate can be quite complex, so you want someone knowledgeable and experienced on your side. A lawyer can guide you through the process and answer all of your questions.

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Benefits of Hiring a Probate Lawyer

If you’re the executor of an estate, you may wonder if you should handle the probate process yourself or hire help. Here are a few benefits you will receive from working with an experienced probate lawyer:

  • Give You Time to Spend with Your Loved Ones: Handling the probate process is a very time-consuming and stressful task. You are going through a difficult time right now and don’t need the added burden of dealing with probate. If you hire a skilled probate lawyer, he or she can take care of the process for you. This gives you the opportunity to spend time with your family members at a time they need you the most.
  • Speed Up the Process: Probate has a reputation for being a long and tedious process. If you attempt to handle the process yourself, you might make errors that slow down the process even more. On the other hand, if you hire an experienced probate process, you can finish the process faster. An experienced lawyer will know the ins and outs of the probate process and can expedite the process.
  • Reduce Disputes: Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to make disputes against an estate. For example, a family member who doesn’t believe they are getting their fair share may try to challenge the will. This can prolong the process and increase legal fees. If you hire a probate lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ, he or she will handle the probate process effectively and minimize the chance of a dispute occurring.
  • Cut Costs: The last thing you want is for the probate process to dramatically reduce the value of the estate. That is one more reason to hire a skilled probate lawyer. He or she will take proper control of the assets in the estate and protect them from theft. Your lawyer will also help you pay debts and taxes on time so that you avoid additional penalties.

If you need assistance with the probate process, you should schedule a consultation with a probate lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ as soon as possible.

4 Reasons Why You Need a Probate Lawyer

In order to settle the estate of someone who has recently died, it’s important to find an experienced and qualified probate lawyer Elizabeth, NJ residents trust in your area. Because the process of settling an estate can be complex, you need to work with a lawyer who has experience dealing with the issues that come up during the probate process and can help you avoid any unnecessary or costly problems. Here are five reasons why you should work with an experienced probate lawyer from Suthard Law.

1) If Your Relative Passed Away Without a Will

If you find out your relative has passed away without a will, you might need to hire an attorney to help with the probate process. Probating an estate can be expensive and time-consuming, so it is best to start the process as soon as possible. Hiring a lawyer who specializes in this area of law could be helpful because they know how to deal with all the legal aspects of probating an estate. Fees for these services are typically paid by the executor or administrator of the estate, so if you were named in either role for a relative’s estate then these fees may come out of your pocket.

2) To Avoid Conflicts Over the Estate

If you are in charge of distributing the property of someone who has passed away, or if you are fighting to get what is rightfully yours, it is important that you use an attorney who understands the intricacies of probate law. The last thing anyone needs during this time is more strife and confusion over who will inherit and what they will receive. A lawyer can help make sure that there are no conflicts over the estate which could lead to family members not talking to each other any more than necessary. A lawyer may also be able to stop relatives from making major decisions before they have had time to grieve, giving them time and space for their own healing process.

3) If There Is Controversy Over the Will

Controversy over the will is one of the most common reasons that someone might need to hire a probate lawyer. In fact, controversies can arise when: secondary beneficiaries are left out of the will, even though they may be entitled to their share under state law; someone else claims to have written and signed the will; or if there are different people listed as executors who cannot agree on how to proceed with the estate. If you have any doubts about what your responsibilities will be as an executor, it’s important to contact an attorney before taking on those duties.

4) Probate is Time-Consuming

Probate is often very time-consuming. It can take months to sort through all of the documents, assets, and liabilities in order to settle the estate. A probate lawyer can help you navigate these issues and ensure that everything is completed in accordance with your state’s laws. The lawyer can also prepare the necessary legal documents for probating an estate and have them notarized so that they will be valid when filed with the court.

4 Factors to Consider When Hiring a Probate Lawyer

Clearly, there are many reasons to hire a probate lawyer. However, a quick Google search is likely to produce many results. You can choose between over 70,000 probate attorneys and firms in the U.S. alone. Of course, your specific area will have fewer probate attorneys, but you’ll still be sifting through a large number. Before hiring an attorney, consider these five vital factors:

1) Overall Experience and Qualifications 

The legal profession covers a wide basis, and the law has many moving parts. Just because someone is qualified to practice the law doesn’t mean they’re the right candidate for probate. Besides bare minimums like being able to practice the law in your state, you should look for an attorney specializing in estate planning and probate law.

Another consideration to make is how many states your estate spans. You may only have a single property in NJ. However, if you have properties scattered throughout the country, consider hiring an attorney licensed in all of those states.

2) Satisfied References and Reviews 

Your quest to find a probate attorney may not differ that much from finding a restaurant in the beginning. When searching for a firm or attorney, likely you’ll start by reading online reviews on Google or their social media. Many positive reviews speak volumes whether you’re looking for an attorney or a new Italian restaurant to try.

However, there are many differences between the law and trying culinary treats. Undercooked or frozen-tasting lasagna may ruin date night, but a less-than-satisfactory attorney may mean your beneficiaries don’t inherit your estate or you pay hefty taxes. In short, try to go beyond online reviews by talking with their past clients and colleagues.

3) How You Feel When Talking to Them 

It’s normal to feel intimidated when speaking with an attorney for the first time. After all, they’re a legal expert, and understanding the complexities of the law isn’t possible for everybody. However, any potential attorney should never make you feel uncomfortable. Besides making you feel at ease, an attorney should also be able to answer any questions you have in a way you can understand. They should also set realistic and objective goals and showcase their confidence in helping you.

Being able to communicate with your attorney actively is vital. In short, you should be able to feel that there’s some compatibility existing between you two. No, you will probably not become best friends with your attorney, but you may need to communicate with them for a year or more.

4) Availability and Fees

Lastly, you’ll need to consider overall availability and fees. The right attorney will be transparent regarding how available they are and what their fees look like. Depending upon your needs, some attorneys may charge hourly, on a retainer, or on a flat fee basis. It’s important to note that an attorney with more experience typically costs more. However, this extra experience can mean better outcomes in a shorter time period. Asking any potential Elizabeth, NJ, probate lawyer how long they predict your specific needs will take is always good practice.

Elizabeth Probate Lawyer Infographic

4 Factors To Consider When Hiring A Probate Lawyer Infographic

Elizabeth Probate Law FAQs

What Exactly Is the Difference Between Probate and Non-probate Assets? 

An Elizabeth, NJ probate lawyer can help you understand asset differences. Any probate assets must go through the court system before the respectful beneficiaries can receive them. These assets are typically only assets that are included with a deceased person’s name. One example is any real estate that has a sole owner. If real estate has a sole owner, it’ll have to go through the probate process. Stocks and bonds are other examples. 

Non-probate assets don’t need to go through the court system. Instead, beneficiaries can receive these assets almost instantly. Some examples are life insurance policies, annuities, and pensions. 

What Is a Simplified Probate Process? 

Some estates don’t carry what the state of New Jersey deems much monetary value. An estate can’t exceed $20,000 to qualify for a simplified probate process. Meeting this condition generally means an estate qualifies for simplified probate. If the spouse deceased was married, then the estate goes to the spouse. When a person isn’t married, the estate will go to any existing family members. Family members can designate a single person to receive the estate if they want to. For an heir to receive the estate’s assets, they’ll need to file an affidavit. 

Who Can Be Appointed As an Heir? 

Many parties can be appointed as an heir, but sometimes potential heirs must meet certain conditions. For starters, the deceased’s children are equally entitled to receiving the estate. One child can also be appointed to handle the estate and pass out the assets to the respective parties, or they can all act as co-administrators. If there are no children, grandchildren can be appointed. If there are no grandchildren, parents can be appointed, then siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc. Lastly, if no immediate relatives survive, it’s possible that stepchildren can be appointed as heirs. 

Can You Avoid the Probate Process With a Will? 

In New Jersey, most estates must go through the probate process even if there’s a will. However, avoiding the probate process is possible by naming a beneficiary to your life insurance and bank account. Even if a will doesn’t make you avoid the probate process, it can still make it much easier for everyone involved. A will can accurately spell out your final wishes, and you can name what assets go to which beneficiaries. You can also name an executor to take care of your estate and ensure your beneficiaries obtain your assets, doing so can make the process easier for an Elizabeth probate lawyer. 

How Should You Name a Will Executor? 

Naming an executor for your will and handling the probate process isn’t an easy decision to make. It’s normal for people to name an heir or beneficiary to be an executor. However, it doesn’t need to be a beneficiary; sometimes, it’s better to name someone else. Ultimately, you want to name someone responsible, trustworthy, and with enough time. Ideally, you should also name someone with some legal knowledge or experience, although this isn’t always necessary as they’ll probably work with an Elizabeth probate lawyer.

The Law Office of Wade Suthard, P.C. Elizabeth Probate Lawyer

Contact Our Elizabeth Probate Lawyer

The probate process can be complicated and lengthy. This is especially true when there are disputes about the validity of the will, beneficiaries, or executor. An Elizabeth probate lawyer can help you reduce litigation risk by helping you avoid potential pitfalls in the probate process. When you are in need of an Elizabeth probate lawyer, contact one today at Suthard Law.