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 Probate Lawyer Cherry Hill NJA probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ from Klenk Law is available to assist families in resolving debts and distributing your assets upon your passing. We can provide this assistance if a Will exists or not. Generally, it is beneficial to have a lawyer draw up an estate plan well before you pass away. In this way, you can alleviate some of the stress and financial burden that may be placed upon your loved ones after you die. To learn more about the probate process and how its pain diminished, consult a probate lawyer from Klenk Law by calling us today.

What is a probate lawyer, and when should I retain one?

A probate lawyer, also known as an estate lawyer, helps executors or administrators of an estate during the probate process. You may retain a probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ from Klenk Law regardless of whether or not a will exists. A probate lawyer may also:

  • Offer legal advice on estate planning, including tax advantages.
  • Guide how to avoid the probate process.
  • Draft legal documents for estate planning purposes.
  • Advice on power of attorney.
  • Serve as an executor of an estate. (Learn more about The Role of the Executor)

When a Will Exists

The probate process will typically be much easier if a will is left behind by the decedent. In that scenario, a probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ from Klenk Law can be retained to advise relevant parties on the process and related legal matters. A probate lawyer can help if a likely heir was left out of the will and believes it was because the decedent wrote their will under pressure by another person. If coercion or other illegalities are suspected, a probate lawyer can challenge the will in a court of law.

If a probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ from Klenk Law is hired to advise an executor of the estate, we can help:

  • Collect, review, and manage life insurance proceeds.
  • Arrange an appraisal of any property.
  • Locate and secure assets of the decedent.
  • Gather and settled any debts.
  • Prepare and file probate documents.
  • Determine whether or not taxes are owed

When a Will Does Not Exist

If a person dies without leaving a will, they die “intestate.”  The laws of intestacy dictate Intestate Estate’s distribution. Intestacy rules vary from state-to-state. 

If there is no will, you can hire a probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ from Klenk Law to help administer the estate. He or she can explain the intestacy laws of the state and can make sure that the estate distribution is lawful.

When several relatives are eligible to become the estate’s administrator, one person needs secure renunciations from other family members. The renunciation is a legal agreement that must be signed by those involved. The others renounce the individual right to oversee the execution of the estate. A probate lawyer from our firm can assist in completing and filing the relevant documents with the court.

Do You Have Questions or Concerns About the Probate Process?

Whether you are planning your estate or a family member of someone who has recently passed away, you can consult a lawyer to discuss your personal questions and concerns. Call us now to schedule a consultation with an experienced probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ from Klenk Law.

Good Reasons to Hire a Probate Lawyer

If a person died and left a will, a probate lawyer Cherry Hill NJ residents depend on knows the court will determine if the will is accurate through a probate process. While probate seems like a pretty straightforward procedure, there may be some complexities involved. That’s why it makes sense to hire an experienced probate lawyer from Klenk Law. Here are several good reasons why you should employ legal assistance for the probate process:

Handle Debts and Expenses Correctly

It is possible that your family member left behind some debt. If that is the case, you will have to pay the debt before passing off any of the assets to heirs. An experienced probate lawyer Cherry Hill NJ families trust can help you get a clear idea of exactly how much you owe and help you avoid overpaying or underpaying on the debts.

Avoid Family Conflict

Arguments among family members often arise during the probate process. Family members who were close to the deceased may become upset or angry if they aren’t allowed to be involved in the process. This can bring a lot of stress and frustration. If you allow a probate lawyer Cherry Hill NJ clients depend on to carry out the probate process, you can diminish anxiety and family conflict.

Speed Up the Process

One of the downsides to the probate process is that it can take a while to complete. Sometimes probating an estate can take more than a year. However, if you have a Cherry Hill probate lawyer on your side, he or she can accelerate the process.

Reduce Stress

If you were named the executor of your family member’s will, you have a lot on your plate. You have to read the will, contact beneficiaries and possibly deal with family conflict. If you hire a probate lawyer, he or she can do a lot of the legwork for you, reducing a lot of your stress.

Assistance With Paperwork

Probating an estate comes with a mountain of paperwork. If you do not understand some of the terminologies in the documents, you could make errors and get the probate of the estate initially rejected. A skilled probate lawyer can help you fill out these documents promptly and make sure there are no errors.

Avoid Claims Against the Estate

When a family member dies, some individuals might make claims against the estate if they weren’t included in the will. If you hire a probate lawyer, Cherry Hill NJ locals recommend, family members may be less likely to make claims against the estate.

At Klenk Law, we understand how stressful the probate process can be and want to help make it easier for you. If you would like to speak with a probate lawyer in Cherry Hill NJ from Klenk Law, he or she will take care of everything and reduce a lot of your stress.

Avoid Excessive Costs

Our Cherry Hill, NJ probate lawyers, understand that losing a loved one is a challenging time in anyone’s life. There is a loss, uncertainty, and worry. There is a common misconception that probating your loved one’s estate will be costly. In most cases, this is not the case. In its purest form, probate is the process of distributing a deceased’s assets. The best way to prepare for probate is by correctly and effectively setting up an estate plan. By making asset distribution easy, there will be little chance the probate process will be timely or costly.

What are Estate Costs?

Even when an estate plan only includes a simple will, a trusted Cherry Hill, New Jersey probate lawyer knows this does not mean the process must be expensive. Typical probate costs include:

  • File the Petition – This is the Petition that must be filed with the court, letting the court know your loved one has died and you are seeking to probate their will. This cost can vary slightly but is generally less than $500.00.
  • Publish required legal notices – The estate must publish legal notices. These ensure all outstanding creditors and heirs have the opportunity to present themselves to the court. This fee will range depending on the type of publication used — generally less than $300.00.
  • Appraisals – Depending on the assets, evaluations help properly distribute equal amounts to the heirs. Generally, houses, cars, and other valuable items will require an appraisal. The cost will vary greatly depending on how extensive the appraisal needs to be. Expect this cost to range from zero to several thousand.
  • Certified copies of court documents – Sometimes, you’ll need to obtain certified copies of court documents, such as Letters of Administration. For example, a bank will require a certified copy of the Letters of Administration to allow you access to the bank account of your loved one. This cost is nominal in comparison but will depend on how many certified copies you need. Generally, expect to spend less than $50.00.
  • Attorney’s fees – Attorney’s fees are what most people think of when they fear the estate assets will be eaten up. In reality, the sum of all the other fees greatly outweighs any fees an attorney will charge. Our trusted probate lawyer from Cherry Hill, NJ will be transparent with you about our costs from the moment we meet you.

What Is Probate Law?

Probate law involves settling the estate of a person who has died. The estate includes everything the person owns. In most states, the property, money, and other assets go to the deceased’s heirs and beneficiaries unless the person made other arrangements in a legally binding will. Probate law relies on people’s last will and testament to understand what they wanted to happen to the estate. The courts must be satisfied that the will is legitimate; probate law also defines that process. A probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ, can help you with that process.

Probate law varies by state, and some wills don’t have to go through probate. Whether or not the probate process is necessary depends on the value and kind of assets in question. Avoiding probate may be preferable if it’s possible since it saves time and money. The probate process can take up to two years and cost up to 10% of the estate in court costs and fees. Those expenses usually come out of the assets of the estate.

The larger and more complicated the estate, the more expensive and time-consuming the probate process can be. The proceedings can take much longer if someone contests the will. If you need help with an estate in New Jersey, contact Klenek Law to determine whether you can avoid the probate process.

What If No Will Exists?

Probate law still applies if no will exists. Since the deceased left no document specifying how the assets should be distributed, the courts must decide based on local probate laws. If you are working to settle the estate of a deceased loved one, a probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ, can help. The attorneys at Klenek Law know how to file the proper documents with the court to move the estate through probate as quickly and efficiently as possible. Even without a will, most states have a process to avoid probate, so you should speak to an experienced professional about the options.

Why Do We Need Probate Law?

When someone you love dies, the grief and loss are compounded by the need to handle many practical matters such as getting a death certificate, planning a funeral service, and settling the financial issues. Probate law provides some framework for distributing property, money, and other assets while paying the debts the deceased person left behind. A probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ, can deal with the legal steps while you tend to your mental health and your family.

What is a Probate Lawyer, How do they Help?

This seems fairly straightforward. And that’s why many people ask us why they even need to hire Klenk Law the first place. The biggest reason is the experience.  Our probate lawyers in our Cherry Hill, NJ office hold years of experience. We don’t have to guess about what step is coming next or how to handle issues that might arise. We’ve been down this road before, we’ve seen all the roadblocks, and we know how to handle it all.

Could you do it yourself? Sure. But we don’t recommend it. If you’re afraid of the costs, we can work with you. But we will also caution you that if you try probate without a skilled probate lawyer from our Cherry Hill, NJ office, it could end up costing you more if there are mistakes made. By working with the experienced team at Klenk Law, you do not have to worry about making unintentional errors, we will walk you through every step of the process. This guarantee of transparency will save you stress and money by working with Klenk Law.

5 Things To Know About Probate

1. What Probate Is

Probate is a court-supervised process used to transfer a person’s assets to their heirs after they die. Part of the process involves making sure the decedent’s will is valid and that any outstanding debts the estate has are paid. A probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ can advise you how probate may affect the distribution of your estate.

2. When Probate Happens

The probate process is required for all assets that aren’t transferred upon a person’s death by state titling law, contract law or trust law. If a person dies with assets that are named in a will or the person does not have a will, then those assets will probably go through probate. A probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ can help you determine which of your assets may be subject to probate.

3. What Property Goes Through Probate

Examples of property that goes through probate include assets distributed to heirs by a will and property that is not distributed in a will or otherwise transferred. Several types of property usually do not have to go through probate:

  • Retirement funds with specific beneficiaries
  • Annuities with specific beneficiaries
  • Life insurance policies with specific beneficiaries
  • Transfer-on-death accounts
  • Pay-on-death accounts
  • Property held as tenancy by the entirety
  • Property held as joint tenancy with rights to survivorship
  • Property placed in trusts

An attorney at Klenk Law can help you determine how to manage your assets to avoid probate if that is your wish.

4. How Probate Works

The probate process begins with a validation of the will. An executor is then appointed. An inventory is taken of the estate and any debts and taxes the estate owes are paid. Finally, the estate’s assets are distributed according to the will or the laws of the state. The team at Klenk Law can help you understand what to expect from the probate process.

5. How To Avoid Probate

Many people try to avoid probate because it can be expensive and take a long time. Probate can sometimes be avoided through estate planning tools, such as a revocable living trust. Other options include titling property with a survivorship feature and making sure that all of your accounts that allow you to establish beneficiaries, such as your life insurance and your IRA, are up to date. An estate planning attorney may be able to help you set up your assets so that all or most do not need to pass through probate.

Which Documents Are Needed to File a Petition for Probate

When a loved one passes away, the last thing you want to do is rifle through their essential documents. Unfortunately, those essential documents are necessary when you need to file a petition with your local probate court. You can work with a probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ such as those at Klenk Law to help you make sense of the documents and file the petition.

That said, before you consult with a lawyer, here is a rough rundown of the documents you’ll need to have on hand. These documents vary depending on whether your loved one owned any real estate, had significant shares in a business, or had other investments. Read on to learn which documents you should try to find first.

Will and Trusts

If your loved one worked with a probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ to secure a will or living trust, your job as a prospective estate administrator will be comparatively easy. In cases where a will cannot be found, the probate court will have to follow the state’s intestacy laws which determine the next of kin who inherits the decedent’s property.

Sometimes, even if a will is found, it might not be legally valid. Each state has its own laws regarding what makes a will legally admissible, and an attorney at Klenk Law can advise you on whether your loved one’s document is valid or not.

Financial Documents

Any accounts that your loved one had, be it credit union accounts or bank accounts must be recorded as assets in probate court. Therefore, you will need account numbers, check books, or at the very least statements to show proof that your loved one was the owner of these accounts.

Consult with your legal representative at Klenk Law to learn which financial documents are necessary to file in the petition. Your lawyer will explain that any joint accounts do not need to pass through probate, for instance. Those accounts have a surviving owner, therefore they naturally pass through into the sole possession of that individual.

Real Property Ownership Documents

If your deceased loved one owned real estate, you should find any relevant deeds to that property. If they owned vehicles, any information pertaining to the title deed and registration should also be entered into probate, unless there is a designated beneficiary written into the registration form of the car.

Evidence of Debts and Liabilities

Finally, you will also have to prepare any documentation pertaining to any debt that your loved one had. Show your probate lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ any mortgage paperwork, including the balance owed as well as the mortgage terms. Also, try to find out if your loved one owed any money on any active credit cards.

The probate court process allows creditors to come forward after a period of time between a person’s passing and the closing of their probate case, in order to collect any outstanding debts. That said, if you have the documentation available and you are able to pay those debts down on your loved one’s behalf, this will speed up the process significantly. 

If you would like to set up a free consultation with a probate lawyer Cherry Hill NJ provides from our firm, we encourage you to call us.

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Rachel Roney

Peter has done a great job with the estate planning for my father. He is very thorough and patient as we, the family need to make decisions.

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I have had Peter Klenk prepare and revise my will. Always professional, knowledgeable and offers great advice. Highly recommend

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