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When To Hire A Lawyer If You're The Executor Of An Estate

After an individual with a will has passed away, the executor of the will is responsible for following the instructions that it contains. You might have been named as the executor of the will or you might have been selected to be the executor by the court. If you have been appointed as the executor of a will, you might wonder if you should hire a lawyer to help you with the process.

A Lawyer is Almost Always Necessary 

When a will is created, lawyers should be involved in all stages of the process. While there are many DIY services available, a lawyer can help make sure that the estate is handled in the proper way on behalf of the deceased.

What the Executor Must Do

To be the executor of a will, you must have excellent organizational skills. You will have many responsibilities such as paying taxes on the estate and reporting to the beneficiaries. There are several circumstances in which you may need to hire a lawyer.

When a Beneficiary Contests the Will

If a family member decides that they would like to contest the will, the process of serving as an executor of the will can become much more complicated. As a result, you may want to consult with a lawyer.

Hire a Lawyer if Probate is Required

You should hire a lawyer if the property cannot be transferred without probate. For example, if all of the assets were held in a living trust, the estate might avoid probate. It's also possible to avoid probate if all of the assets are held jointly.

If the state doesn't allow simple probate or if the estate is too large for simple probate, executing the will can be very difficult and you will need to hire a lawyer. You will especially need to work with a lawyer if you are handling a will that involves a business or complicated asset. 

The Size of the Estate

Normally, if the estate is small, you won't need a lawyer. However, one exception is if there are a lot of debts and there is not enough money in the estate to pay the creditors. If this is the case, you will need to get advice from a lawyer before you pay off any of the creditors.

Estate Taxes

The estate might also owe state taxes depending on the state in which the deceased resides. A minority of states specifically have estate taxes and you will need to consult with a lawyer to make sure that you are properly paying all relevant taxes.

To learn more about wills, contact a firm like Wright Law Offices, PLLC.