What is a Probate Attorney?
Probate attorneys (or probate lawyers) help to settle the affairs of deceased persons’ estates. A probate attorney can be hired by a personal representative or executor after a person has died, or they can engage with the family early on, helping to plan the estate, write a will and testament, and ensure a smooth process for those left to settle the loved one’s affairs.
Our Probate Services
The probate attorneys at Stevens & Day, LLP are experienced with the myriad of legal proceedings that are guided by Maine’s Probate Code and typically are resolved before Maine’s Probate Courts. For a consultation regarding your probate matter, contact partner Avery Day at 207-430-3288 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our probate attorneys can assist you with the following:
Our estate planning service often consists of preparing a will, a durable financial power of attorney, and an advance health care directive. For estates where more specialized planning is involved, we can also prepare trusts and assist with matters that may need to be addressed during your lifetime, such as transferring real estate, retitling other assets, placing family properties into LLCs, or updating beneficiary designations for non-probate assets.
Whether a loved one died with a will (testate) or without a will (intestate), the probate process is largely the the same. While each estate is different and is usually confronted with its own particular issues, the broad strokes of the process usually follows a familiar pattern:
- Our probate attorneys work with clients to gather the information required to initiate the probate process and to have a Personal Representative of the estate appointed (if you are charged with settling a loved one’s affairs, this checklist can help you get started).
- From there, we assist with providing notice to heirs and devisees as well as inventorying and appraising the value of assets in the estate.
- At that point, we can assist with the sale of assets, if required, and the payment of claims, debts, and taxes.
- Finally, distributions can be made and the probate administration process can be wrapped up.
For smaller estates, some of the time and expense of administration can be avoided through the use of a small estate affidavit, when appropriate.
As noted above, each estate presents its own challenges and our probate attorneys have experience in working through these issues as well. These challenges may include addressing the various allowances provided under the Probate Code, calculating and satisfying elective shares, which can be claimed by spouses, and/or responding to creditor claims. In cases where someone has died in another state but has property in Maine, we can work with counsel in other states to deal with these Maine assets through the ancillary probate process.
While families are often able to work through the issues they are confronted with during the probate administration process, sometimes genuine disputes cannot be settled by agreement. In those instances, parties may have to resort to probate litigation. We can assist in those matters, whether they relate to the validity of a will, the conduct of a Personal Representative, or a dispute regarding the distribution of non-probate assets between beneficiaries.
As with estates, disagreements can arise related to the administration of trusts. We are ready to assist clients with these matters when disagreements turn into litigation.