If you know in advance that you are appointed the executor, or if you plan to seek authority as administrator, of an estate, then an attorney will greatly ease some of the burden when going into probate. However, when you need to hire an estate administration attorney, it’s easier said than done. In many Ohio counties, the probate court requires executors and administrators to retain counsel, or has local rules that discourage executors and administrators from proceeding pro se.
Hiring an estate administration attorney means you have a trusted and reputable counsel to turn to with any questions or hiccups in the estate administration process. If you feel like you need to hire an estate administration attorney, or have questions about your responsibilities or potential liability, then you probably should hire counsel.
Here’s some situations where an estate administration attorney can be particularly helpful:
When the Will May Be Contested
If there’s brewing drama among family members arguing over who gets what despite the presence of a will, then an estate administration attorney or probate attorney will be able to help determine validity of claims and guide you through the conflict. This is also especially important for large estates that may attract “long-lost relatives” who are attempting to stake a claim.
The Estate Contains a Business
If the deceased had any hand in a business, as a sole proprietor, a partner, or had shares and stock, then you may need to hire an estate administration or probate attorney. Because the business may live on after the deceased owner, it’s crucial to properly address and disperse any ownership or shares and stock held by the estate.
The Estate Does Not Have Enough Money
While some estates are large enough to easily pay off any outstanding creditors, it is possible for the estate to not have enough to satisfy all the debts. It can also be confusing for executors and administrators to determine which debts are valid and which are not. If this is the case, then the non-professional executor should to hire an estate administration attorney or probate attorney to provide professional legal advice about which debts to pay first or how to properly negotiate with creditors.
Handling Federal and State Taxes
Depending on the size of the estate and what kind of assets are included in it, there may be a variety of taxe returns to file. If the deceased person owned property in a state different from the one they lived in, then the administrator may need to file taxes with two different states. When this is the case, you may need to hire an estate administration attorney or probate attorney to help with these taxes.
If you believe that you need to hire an estate administration attorney or probate attorney, then contact Abbie Obenour at The Obenour Legal Group. With years of experience and a firm reputation, Abbie can provide expert legal counsel in family law and estate administration. Contact Abbie Obenour today to schedule a consultation.