From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: “My mother died in Jenkintown, PA. Are you a Probate Lawyer Montgomery County, PA? What does a Probate Lawyer do?”
Probate Lawyer Montgomery County, PA, Peter Klenk
Probate Lawyer Montgomery County, PA.
Most estate executors need a team. Executors need not know how to carry out all the required tasks. But, executors must complete all the required tasks. Because most executors don’t have the experience (or the time) to file tax returns, draft deeds, or assemble settlement agreements, they hire professionals to assist them. Hiring a team is expected. The cost of these professionals is deducted from taxes and paid for out of the estate’s assets. Who are these team members? Typically an Accountant, a realtor, and in your case, a Probate Lawyer Montgomery County, PA.
If the estate you manage has real estate, you will need a good realtor. As executor, you are duty bound to maximize the estate assets for the beneficiaries and creditors. You are personally liable if the sale doesn’t bring the best possible price; a beneficiary or creditor can demand that you make up the shortfall.
For example, if you sell the house to a friend at a $50,000.00 discounted price, the heirs can demand that you pay $50,000.00 into the estate. A judge would likely agree. Even if you sell at fair market value, any heir may mistakenly believe the price was too low and file a complaint. A good realtor can help avoid this problem. The realtor can assemble comparable prices to justify the selling price. Further, judges assume that a realtor is trying to maximize the sales price to raise their fee. Whereas, if you, as a non-professional, sell the property yourself, it may be challenging to prove that you received the best possible price.
A Probate Lawyer Montgomery County, PA, can also help. As executor, knowing about the house’s shortcomings isn’t required. You are free to sell it “as is.” But, the buyer will want you to make promises about the house’s condition. It is common to find specific “warranties” in the deed on the day of signing that should not exist. Your Probate Lawyer can protect you from these tactics.
Most people still owe the tax many a payment when they die. Income taxes are due in April of the following year. If the decedent lived long enough into the year, the executor is responsible for filing the decedent’s final income tax return. Most executors do not prepare the decedent’s tax return; they hire an accountant. If the decedent had an accountant, it makes sense to employ that accountant. Retaining the deceased’s accountant makes even more sense if he had a business or rental property. The existing accountant will be familiar with these issues.
While the accountant takes care of income tax returns, your Probate Lawyer Montgomery County, PA will typically prepare any required Estate or Inheritance Tax Returns. We regularly manage these returns, whereas accountants usually do not.
The Probate Attorney
The Probate Lawyer Montgomery County, PA is typically the final piece of your probate team puzzle.
Your goal as the executor should be to make sure you don’t get into any trouble. Your Probate Attorney helps you avoid traps. We usually help you file the initial probate petition to get your name as executor as smoothly as possible. Beyond the services mentioned above, the Probate Layer also gives you advice on managing beneficiary expectations, walks you through what can be a somewhat confusing process, and assembles a settlement agreement where every beneficiary releases you from liability.
While we aim to make each probate as easy and boring as possible, sometimes executors can’t avoid a problem. Your Probate Lawyer is there to address issues as they come up.
This blog is a short answer to the question, what does a probate Lawyer Montgomery County, PA, do. For more information about Estate Planning, follow this link to my webpage Estate Planning; Probate, Everything You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: Probate Lawyer Montgomery County, PA
I hope you found helpful this short article responding to the question what does a Probate Lawyer Montgomery County, PA do? I have also included some links for more detailed information. Contact us if you want to know more or have an estate that needs our help. Let our Probate and Estate Planning lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. Feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
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