The word “probate” is a legal word derived from the Latin term “probare” which essentially means “to prove.” And while most legal matters are matters proven in court, the probate process in America is one that is all about proving some number crunching. The very first probate court in America launched in 1784, to provide for a court that existed solely to determine what assets were proven and then divided after death.
Probate court can be a lengthy and confusing process. If you have property in probate right now, eliminate some confusion by getting everything you need to know about the probate process right here.
What is the Probate Process?
In a nutshell, the probate process is the legal process that proves an individual’s assets and determines asset division upon their death. In many cases, a will is in place and this is the document that will serve as the law or ordaining legal principle that makes those determinations.
Once someone dies, the executor advises descendants of their expected inheritance. But even in the simplest of situations, a legal process generally has to occur before they will get their stake of a will.
And in some situations, a will does not exist, nor does an executor. So a probate court appoints someone to direct the assets, to mitigate squabbles and battles over anything from money to the family spoon used at Christmas.
First, the will is proven in court, and then the assets and liabilities are paid or expunged. The property appraisal occurs, and debts or taxes get paid from assets.
Once that process is complete, the remaining assets are divided among descendants. The entire process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.
Does All Property Go Through Probate?
This process of waiting until probate is over to receive inheritances is the standard one. But there are many ways to access property before probate is over.
In some cases, a cash amount may be released for the short-term while probate proceedings go on.
And not all property must go through probate in its entirety.
In the state of California for example, as much as $100,000 in property can be passed to descendants without probate.
Putting property in trust also allows you to avoid the probate process on those assets as well. A good probate lawyer can help you determine how to do this before you even prepare your will or estate plan.
If you already have property in probate, avoiding it at this point is not possible, and that’s why you need a good lawyer to help.
If the estate is not complicated, you may be able to go through a simplified probate process in your state. Or at the very least, you may be able to get some short-term funding approved for release before the probate process is complete.
Spare Your Loved Ones. Probate.
As many as 55 percent of Americans do not have an estate plan or will.
This is why the probate process can take as long as two years to complete. Register today to get access to a comprehensive list of lawyers willing to help make the probate process easier for you.
“Do I need real estate lawyer services?”. The eternal question that bothers many potential home buyers.
If you fall into this category you would ideally have already identified an area you’d like to reside at. An area whose properties are certainly commensurate with your financial abilities.
Chances are you’ve already hired a real estate agent to do your bidding but the question still lingers. This article strives to answer that very question.
What Is Real Estate Lawyer?
A request for the description of a real estate lawyer would inevitably be followed by the question, “What do real estate lawyers do?”.
A Real estate lawyer is a lawyer whose specialty lies in handling all legal issues pertaining to property. The scope of his/her services encompasses a handling of the documentation used in real estate agreements.
Such documents include transfer documents, mortgage documents, purchase agreements, title agreements et al. Real estate lawyers can represent individuals seeking to buy property as well as organizations selling property. It’s also not uncommon for real estate lawyers to assist buyers in closing a deal.
Do You Need Real Estate Lawyer Services?
Real estate transactions can be a costly affair and the temptation to seek drastic ways to cut costs is a strong one. One way of doing so is by taking up a do-it-yourself approach to avoid the additional cost of real estate attorney fees.
An example of such an attempt can be observed in the use of self-help legal documents. You can certainly be successful going it alone but one shouldn’t expect it to go well every time, especially when there are regulations to contend with or the complex nature of a transaction is out of your scope of expertise. In such scenarios, bringing a lawyer on board would be a necessary thing to do.
Situations that warrant the need for real estate lawyer services include;
1. When the Law Requires You to Do So
There are certain states that require you to hire legal services in all real estate transactions. You can, therefore, expect that any transaction done without the involvement of a licensed lawyer to be rendered unlawful.
The degrees of involvement differ from state to state. States such as North Carolina, New York, Delaware, South Carolina and Georgia require lawyer involvement at all stages. Thus, your lawyer will be involved the title review part of the transfer process all the way to when you sign the documents.
Alabama, on the other hand, limits real estate lawyer services up to the drafting of legal documents. A common factor in all these states is that the client (buyer or seller) reserves the right to choose his legal representation. The same privilege extends to individuals seeking a real estate lawyer in Houston.
2. When the Financial Stakes Are High
It would be prudent to hire a real estate lawyer in major transactions with high financial stakes.
Your first concern in such a situation is whether or not the property is in prime condition.
A real estate lawyer will bring a home inspector on board to ascertain whether the property is in top shape. He/she will also handle any renegotiation needed in case issues are found after the inspection.
Real estate lawyer services also extend to the liens, judgments and encumbrances that property is subject to. A lawyer will ensure none of these issues pass on to you upon completion of the transaction.
3. When the Transaction Is Complex
Complex issues in real estate effectively ensure you have no choice but to hire a real estate lawyer. You otherwise, place yourself in the precarious position of being out of your depth.
A lack of expertise only leads to poor judgment. Examples of complex issues include:
- Historical property
- Zoning disputes
- Beachfront property
- Gas and oil rights
- Preserved Property
- Real Estate subject to an easement
- Riparian disputes
Hiring a lawyer more often than not proves to be the wise decision for those who’ve found themselves in such a position. The cost of real estate lawyer fees pales in comparison to the losses you could incur in case of a major conflict later on.
The preventive measures that can be performed by a lawyer extend to the review of ancillary and title documents. A transaction can, therefore, proceed in the knowledge that all documents abide by state and federal regulations.
4. When the Stress Involved Is Too Much
There are situations when the sale of property might be too stressful for the parties involved in a transaction. Take the example of a transaction that is forcefully made because the seller is in financial straits; or a sale where the property in question belonged to a deceased relative.
When emotions are running high the odds of making financially sound decisions are not high. A need to finish the transaction quickly makes a person act rashly.
Hiring a real estate lawyer brings a sober-minded party to the transaction. He/she will negotiate the sale for you so that you’re able to get the best possible deal.
5. When Disputes Arise During the Transaction
The need for real estate lawyer services might at times be required when the transaction has already begun. The hiring could be prompted when a dispute arises or the risk of litigation is imminent.
A disagreement over the terms of a transaction could easily escalate if a party feels it’s been treated unfairly. A lawyer will conduct negotiations and introduce amendments to rectify the unfairness for his/her client. The intervention of the lawyer will also ensure that the terms agreed upon are favorable to all parties.
How Do You Find the Real Estate Lawyer You Are Looking For?
Finding excellent real estate lawyer services within your area can sometimes prove to be a difficult task. It could be that you’ve moved to a new area and can no longer use the real estate lawyer you used before.
Should you find yourself in such a predicament you can certainly count on us to help you out. Simply visit our directory and browse the real estate lawyer listings and you’ll be one step closer to finding the real estate lawyer you need. Contact us today in case of any inquiries.