Probate Lawyer Lake St. Louis, MO
You might be thinking do you need a probate lawyer in Lake Sr. Louis, MO at all? Can you probate a will without a lawyer? The simple answer is yes, you can go through the probate process without needing a lawyer.
However, there are still reasons that you may need a lawyer through this process. Anyone can interact with the court system without a lawyer but there are times one is needed. While you can, doesn’t mean that you should. If you don’t know the process it can get complicated quickly, and that is when you could get into hot water. Since most of the process is paperwork it is important to understand when to file, what to file, and how to file. Read on to learn more about the process and see if a lawyer is right for you.
The Probate Process
- Petition the Court to be the Estate Representative
The court will require the petitioner, you, to fill out specific forms. These are going to be done so you can be the official representative for the estate. You will have to fill out these forms and make sure you have all the information about who, what, when, where, and more. You are going to need a valid copy of a will or to know for sure there is no will at all. Most times you shouldn’t need a lawyer during this first process unless you don’t understand what the will is instructing the executor to do. Another time you might need a lawyer is if someone is fighting you to be the executor.
- Notify Heirs and Creditors
The court will provide you with forms to fill out to notify heirs. These will be listed in a will or if there is no will the state law will dictate who the heirs are. As well as that, the representative is also responsible for finding out what debts the deceased had and making a plan to pay those debts. Only assets that pass through probate are liable to pay debts. You’ll need a clear understanding of who the heirs are and a reasonable attempt to uncover debts. A lawyer can help you determine who heirs are and help you figure out how to find the debts.
- Change Legal Ownership of Assets
This is often the most straightforward part of the process. With the court appointment, you will now be able to change assets owned by the deceased. You’ll need the court appointment and the knowledge of what the deceased owned to change over the legal ownership. You may need a lawyer if the assets have complicated ownership, businesses, royalties, or anything else. If you don’t know how to transfer the ownership then a lawyer is key. Most common assets you should be able to do without a lawyer, like bank accounts, but others can get complicated quickly.
- Paying Funeral Expenses, Taxes, Debts, and Transferring Assets
You should note the order that you will need to prioritize payments. Before there is any transfer to heirs you will have to pay for the funeral, taxes, and any debts that the deceased had. You will need a good accounting system for all the assets, debts, and tax liability. You, the executor, are responsible for ensuring that all attempts are made to pay funeral expenses and taxes. If you don’t have enough money to pay for all of these then it is strongly encouraged to talk to a lawyer. Taxes is where most people have the most trouble.
Knowing if you need a probate lawyer in Lake Sr. Louis, Missouri can be difficult but it isn’t impossible. If you are going through the probate process then consider the Legacy Law Center to help you with your needs.