The internet is full of articles that suggest probating a will is easy. Yet, just as you can find articles telling you how to do almost anything in five easy steps, the truth is somewhat different.
Probate is a legal process. Unless you studied law, you are unlikely to understand all the terms and procedures used. While you could learn as you go, it is usually easier to seek an attorney’s help. Hiring a professional has various advantages:
- They will do it correctly. It is normal to make mistakes the first time you do anything yourself. A probate attorney who knows the ropes will get it right the first time, saving time and money.
- It’s less stressful. If a family member has just died, you may still be grieving. Add in arranging their funeral, clearing up their belongings and consoling others, and the stress can soon mount.
- It’s quicker. An attorney who handles probate for a living will be considerably faster than you doing it for the first time. It can be especially important where people are depending on funds tied up by probate.
- It avoids arguments. Imagine you probate the will and find your father has left you much more than your siblings. You will be the one that has to explain this to them, knowing they may wonder if you manipulated the probate process to your benefit. Having a neutral third party do it increases transparency.
While legal help does come at a price, it will be money well spent. It allows you to discharge your family member’s end-of-life wishes with the professionalism and dignity they deserve.