Wills and estate plans are designed to make the transition of wealth between the generations go along more smoothly. However, that transfer can come to a screeching halt once the probate process gets started. Probate is a time-consuming step that has to be managed carefully.

Many people end up seeking experienced legal guidance when they’re moving an estate through the probate process. Here’s why hiring an attorney can help:

  1. It can minimize stress. It’s hard to understand the number of technical steps that need to be taken and the paperwork involved in the probate process until you see it. Knowing what steps have to be taken and what forms have to be completed are difficult without experienced guidance.
  2. It may reduce family conflicts. A death in the family can reveal buried hostilities. Heirs who aren’t happy with their inheritance may fight. Personality conflicts can erupt into open animosity. An attorney can often keep things focused on practical concerns and facilitate a smoother probate process when the heirs are in conflict.
  3. It can protect the estate. Will contests, creditor claims and more can put the assets in an estate in danger. If a challenge to the will is mounted, it’s wise to have someone on hand who is familiar with the situation and able to respond quickly.
  4. It may give you better access to additional resources. Attorneys experienced in probate and estate administration are well-acquainted with the need to appraise valuable items and other steps that require additional professional assistance. They usually know where to turn when an expert is needed.

Finally, having an attorney helps protect you – if you are the estate’s executor — from liability. An error with an estate could come back to haunt you, years later. To minimize your risk, get an experienced attorney’s assistance.