If you have recently had a parent pass away, you know the strain that it can cause. This strain can be felt not only emotionally, but if your parent passed away without a signed will, your relationships with your siblings may also suffer. Everyone probably loved your parent and had wonderful memories with them. That being said, certain items and possessions of your parent's may have special meaning to more than one person. Many an adult child has asked how to go about separating a beloved parent's items in a way that is fair for everyone involved. While many try to solve this problem on their own, others seem to recognize when additional help is needed and call in a probate lawyer.
A probate lawyer is someone that helps those left behind to settle the financial affairs of deceased individuals. There is actually a lot more involved in settling one's affairs than just splitting up their possessions. When someone passes away, all of the money and land owned by that individual are formally called "an estate." There is much to do in order to settle one's estate including but not limited to:
Paying Funeral Costs. Funerals are not as cheap as they once were. Many families struggle with where to find the money to provide their loved one with what they deem a proper burial. While some of these costs may be able to be paid from the estate itself, sometimes family members must chip in. Probate lawyers can help a family to know what funds they have accessible to them, and what will need to be set aside in order to pay other debts.
Settling Debts. Any outstanding debts that the deceased had accrued will need to be paid. They do not just disappear when one passes away. A few areas where family members should take special care are credit card bills, medical bills, rent, utilities, and subscriptions. Take the time to do it right the first time so that debt collectors do not make the process harder than it needs to be.
Paying Taxes. Taxes will need to be paid for the last year of the deceased's life. Gathering the needed documents and getting this all into order is something that a probate lawyer can help with. While there may be a small fee for their services, having someone to walk grieving children through the necessary steps may be worth it.