The short answer is: most of the time.
The slightly longer answer is: whenever you have questions or need assistance in settling an estate.
If you are a Personal Representative or Executor of a decedent’s estate, there is a good chance you have recently lost someone you loved. This can be a confusing and stressful time, and help may be very welcome during these situations.
Here are just a few reasons to use a probate lawyer:
- If the decedent owned a business a probate attorney can assist with the valuation and sale of the business.
- If there are family members who are going to contest the will a probate attorney can advise and represent the Personal Representative through the process.
- If the estate is insolvent or does not have enough money to pay all of the decedent’s debts you should get advice from a probate lawyer before paying any of the creditors.
- If the estate is large and owes federal or state taxes, you should retain legal and tax counsel.
- A probate attorney can advise you when the decedent’s property is transferred through contracts, living trusts, transfer on death (T.O.D./P.O.D.) designations or joint ownership.
- To help you navigate all of the various requirements under the Montana Uniform Probate Code.
Remember, the main reason to retain an attorney who specializes in probate is to help settle the estate as quickly, easily, and inexpensively as possible. The cost of hiring a probate attorney is an expense of the estate, and thus is paid out of the estate, not your own pocket.