If assets are transferred to you as the executor of an estate, it might be in your best interest to hire a probate attorney. However, this is not always the case. Throughout the course of this brief article, you will have a few commonly asked questions answered about whether or not you should hire a probate attorney.
Does The Estate Have Enough In Funds To Pay Back Outstanding Debts?
One of the issues surrounding the question of whether you will need a probate attorney or not is that of the amount of funds that you have been transferred by the estate tempered with the amount of debt that the estate owes. If the funds can cover the amount of debt that the estate owes, then you won't have to worry about hiring an estate attorney on this front. However, if you are unable to pay back the debt with the given funds, it is highly recommended that you hire the services of a probate attorney. A probate attorney can help advocate and fight for you against having to pay debt out of your own pocket.
Can The Deceased's Assets Be Transferred Out Of Probate?
In an ideal situation, the assets can be transferred to you outside of the confines of probate court. For example, any assets that were being transferred over to you if you were named the specific beneficiary or if you are inheriting the assets in a living trust are both cut and dry issues that do not require the intervention of a probate court. This is not always the case, however. There are a number of issues in which the beneficiary of the assets or particular assets is not named, or may come into conflict with beneficiaries named in different trusts. In these cases, you may have to go to probate court and it is recommended that you call on the services of a probate attorney.
Does The Estate Owe Federal or State Tax?
Only very large estates require a federal tax payment, so it is unlikely that you will have to worry about that issue. However, there are currently 16 states, as well as the District of Columbia, that require the payment of a state estate tax. A probate attorney can help mitigate this issue – and help to advocate for you in the form of paying less in estate taxes – if you happen to live in one of said states, or you have an estate large enough that it must pay into federal taxes.
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