Although state laws do not require an attorney to probate an estate, the process can be very complex and convoluted. If handle inappropriately, the executor is subject to personal liability for mistakes, omissions or missing important deadlines, reports FreeAdvice.
Generally state statutes require a court-appointed executor to administer the probate. The executor manages the assets of the estate, including paying bills and receiving money, until the final distribution of assets, states LegalZoom.
Some rules for probate are straightforward, as long as the executor understands the guidelines and the court rules it is possible for the person to navigate the process without the need for an attorney. However, some cases require legal help or other professional assistance to ensure that the executor gets it right. This includes disputed claims about property, complicated language in the will, disputes involving creditors or uncompleted business transactions, claims against the estate that exceed the value of the estate, and complicated tax matters, according to FreeAdvice.
Even if the executor decides to handle the probate process, the smart approach is to consult with a knowledgeable attorney when in doubt about legal procedures to ensure that there is clarification, and have the attorney review any documents prepared for the case, explains FreeAdvice.