We assist executors, administrators, beneficiaries, and creditor in all aspects of the probate process.
Executors & Administrators
If the decedent died with a valid last will and testament (testate), the personal representative of the estate is generally called the executor. An administrator is the personal representative of an estate in which the decedent dies without a valid will (intestate). Our representation of executors and administrators includes advice regarding:
- Whether probate is even necessary;
- When to open probate;
- Who should serve as executor or administrator;
- The appropriate form of probate, such as common form, solemn form, limited probate for the purpose of establishing muniment of title; ancillary probate; and small estate probate;
- Probate deadlines;
- Lost wills;
- Interpretation of documents;
- Will contests;
- Collection of assets;
- Real estate issues;
- Handling closely-held businesses in an estate;
- IRAs, 401(k)s, and other retirement assets;
- Creditor issues;
- State and federal tax issues;
- Disputes among beneficiaries; and
- Disputes with beneficiaries.
If you are the beneficiary of an estate, whether testate or intestate, you have certain rights with respect to the estate. Moreover, surviving spouse’s have additional rights, known as spousal allowances, including elective share, year’s support, exempt property, and homestead. Whether you are a spouse or non-spouse beneficiary, we can advise you of your rights. Note that some of these rights are time-sensitive, so time is of the essence.
In addition, we help resolve estate disputes by, among other things, seeking court interpretation of documents and removal of executors or administrators. We have also successfully helped clients pursue and defend will contests.
Beneficiaries who are minors or who have special needs can present special challenges. Outright inheritance may not be feasible or desirable. We can advise you on alternatives.
If someone died owing you money, you have certain rights in probate as a creditor of the estate. However, these rights are time-sensitive. If you wait too long, your claim could be lost. We help creditors enforce their rights in probate, including petitioning the probate court to open the estate on behalf of a creditor when the decedent’s family is trying to run out the clock.