When a person passes away, and their loved ones are ready to probate the will and close the estate, they may wonder, “do I have to hire the same attorney who drafted the estate plan to then probate the will?”
What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?
An estate planning attorney, is a legal professional with thorough knowledge of state and federal estate law. They understand how these laws can impact how a person’s estate is valued, inventoried, distributed, and taxed after death. An estate planning attorney can help with many estate-related tasks, such as:
- Establishing a power of attorney
- Establishing an advance directive for health care
- Designating beneficiaries
- Drafting a will
- Setting up a trust
- Reducing estate and gift taxes (when possible)
- Handling a will or trust dispute
In addition to these items, an estate planning attorney can also help guide a family, executor, or power of attorney through the probate process.
What is the Probate Process in Georgia?
Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone has passed away. It is the process of “proving” a person’s last will and testament in the probate court, satisfying any debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Probate is typically handled by an estate executor or administrator. In Georgia, the probate process involves:
- Naming the executor
- Submitted the will to the probate court
- Collecting and appraising assets
- Paying any estate debts or taxes
- Distributing property according to the directions in the will
Given the complexities of the probate process, an attorney can help file all required paperwork, stay on top of deadlines, and advise the beneficiaries of any rights – in case of a conflict.
Using the Estate Planning Attorney to Help with Probate
For families who are ready to probate a loved one’s will, the answer is “no,” they are not obligated to hire the attorney who drafted the estate documents to then probate the will. The loved ones are free to hire whomever they want — an attorney who they feel is knowledgeable and professional. This can be a stressful time, and it’s important to work with an attorney that you’re comfortable with.
Of course, the loved ones may want to consider hiring the same attorney to make the process a little easier. The attorney who helped draft the documents would already be familiar with the assets and parties involved. Plus, if the testator trusted the attorney to draft their estate documents, then the family can have peace of mind hiring the same attorney to probate them.
Have Questions? Contact Brian M. Douglas & Associates’ Estate Planning & Probate Team
Hiring an attorney to help with the probate process is a very personal decision. You want to make sure that you’re comfortable with the attorney and that you’re confident in their skills and expertise. If you have questions about the estate planning or probate process, or would like to schedule a consultation, please reach out to us. You can call (770) 933-9009.