Akron Probate Lawyer

Probate describes the process of wills, trusts, and estates getting settled after the death of a loved one. Most people don’t know much about probate — until they land in the middle of it. Probate comes with a host of unique challenges. It’s time-consuming and can put you at risk of losing the inheritance intended for you.

Don’t make the mistake of undergoing probate without the guidance of an experienced probate lawyer in Akron, Ohio. If you’re facing probate, contact Slater & Zurz at (330) 762-0700. Our experienced probate attorneys can represent and advise you on all matters related to probate.

Understanding Probate

Probate is the process of validating and administering a will or estate. If the deceased prepared a valid will and named an executor, that individual is responsible for initiating the probate process. The executor files the will with the probate court, where it is validated and authenticated.

If the deceased hasn’t prepared a will or the will is not legally binding, the probate process becomes more complicated. The probate court will oversee the tasks that would normally fall to the executor, and the court gets to decide how assets are distributed. That’s why it’s so important to partner with a skilled probate attorney from Slater & Zurz.

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Steps Involved in the Probate Process

Once a will is deemed valid by the probate court, the probate process requires the executor to undertake a number of legal tasks. In this case, an estate is still said to be going through probate, but the executor is essentially acting with the power of the court.

This can make the process go more smoothly, as there’s no need to wait for matters to be settled on the court’s timetable.

The executor has numerous legal responsibilities to fulfill before beneficiaries can take possession of their inheritance. The executor’s jobs include:

  • Use estate assets to pay any debts
  • Pay estate taxes
  • File a death certificate
  • File a final tax return on behalf of the deceased
  • Take inventory of the estate
  • Calculate the value of all assets

Once all other matters are resolved, the remaining assets are distributed to beneficiaries and the probate process is complete.  

When no will was left behind, the process is similar, but many of the above tasks are handled directly by the probate court.

Situations in Which Probate Is Likely

Not every estate must go through probate court. However, there are certain situations in which probate is likely to be the unavoidable outcome. These include:

  • A lack of a formal will
  • A will that is not legally binding
  • No executor named in the will
  • Beneficiaries are not named in the will
  • Assets are not assigned to beneficiaries
  • Assets are only in the deceased’s name
  • Real estate is included in the estate

Depending upon the state in which the deceased left their affairs, probate is often unavoidable. Without the probate process, there may be no way for the heir to access and take possession of assets left by the deceased.  

How Our Skilled Akron Probate Lawyers Can Help

Probate is a complex legal process, and it’s made more complicated by the many variables that exist. The specific steps required are dependent on factors unique to an estate. For the average person, attempting to navigate the probate process without the guidance of an experienced Akron probate lawyer can be overwhelming.

Without expert guidance from a probate lawyer like the team at Slater & Zurz, you also put yourself at risk of serious delays and loss of assets. The longer an estate spends in probate, the higher the costs tend to be.

Our attorneys can help with even the most difficult estates, including cases with:

  • Complex assets
  • Disputed wills
  • Unnamed beneficiaries

When you work with an Akron probate lawyer from Slater & Zurz, you can rest assured that the process will be handled efficiently and correctly. Probate involves overseeing legal affairs, and the assets of an estate hang in the balance. It’s smarter and safer to work with an experienced legal professional to make sure that all matters are administered correctly.

Our probate lawyers protect your estate and your interests throughout the probate process. Benefits of working with our probate lawyers include reduced risk of overpayment of debt or court fees, less family conflict, and a shorter resolution time.

At Slater & Zurz, we have some of the most experienced probate lawyers in Akron, OH. If you need advice for navigating probate proceedings, give us a call at (330) 762-0700.

The Timeline for the Probate Process

Probate can be a time-consuming process. Many factors go into how long an estate takes to go from entry into probate to allocation of assets.

Common matters that increase the length of time the probate process takes include:

  • Lack of a valid will
  • No executor named in the will
  • Large estate
  • Complexity of assets
  • State probate laws
  • Disagreement among heirs

When one or more of the factors listed above impacts an estate, the process can be lengthened indefinitely. Generally, smaller estates required to pass through probate can take several months to resolve, while larger estates can take a year or longer.

It’s hard to know in advance exactly how long proceedings will take. This is especially true when unanticipated issues crop up, like a family member coming forward to contest the will. However, our experienced Akron probate lawyers should be able to give a time estimate after an initial consultation.

Probate and Debt Settlement

One of the biggest issues with probate is the matter of debt settlement. The probate process requires that the estate be used to settle the deceased’s debt before beneficiaries can take possession of assets.

If the deceased left behind significant debt, this requirement can significantly reduce the value of assets that remain for distribution. In extreme cases, it can lead to no remaining assets, meaning no inheritance.

Significant debt might also lead to actions like selling property or family businesses. An estate can be dramatically altered by the probate process, and the end result can mean that heirs don’t receive the legacy intended by the deceased.

Alternatives to Probate in Akron, Ohio

Avoiding probate mostly comes down to preparation on the part of the benefactor. There are many ways to arrange affairs prior to death that can keep your heirs from going through the probate process.

Avoiding probate is an especially important consideration if heirs are financially dependent on a benefactor, or if large amounts of debt will be left behind. Actions that can help an estate bypass probate include:

  • Placing the estate into a living trust
  • Adding beneficiary names to bank accounts, titles, and deeds
  • Placing real estate in joint or survivorship tenancy
  • Naming beneficiaries on retirement accounts and insurance policies

Estate planning and probate attorneys can help arrange these affairs when a benefactor is still living. If steps like these are not taken, there’s little a probate attorney can do to stop an estate from passing through probate.

However, our attorneys can ensure that the probate process goes as swiftly and seamlessly as possible while reducing costs to the heirs. 

At Slater & Zurz, We Understand Probate Law

Slater & Zurz attorneys are leaders in probate law in Akron, Ohio. Our expertise goes to work for you, streamlining and simplifying the probate process. You can rest assured that our probate attorneys are well-versed in all matters of probate law.

Our firm has handled over 30,000 cases across the state of Ohio, and our probate attorneys excel at handling the complexities of probate law. Estate planning and probate require highly specialized knowledge.

At Slater & Zurz, we understand the intricate workings of probate law, and we know how to navigate probate in a way that achieves the best outcome for an estate’s beneficiaries.

Whether you’re the heir or beneficiary to an estate or a benefactor wanting to help your family avoid probate, the best way to protect your interests is by working with an experienced probate lawyer in Akron, Ohio.

Frequently Asked Questions About Probate Law
What a probate lawyer does depends on the specifics of a case. Generally, a probate attorney assists beneficiaries or executors in completing the probate process. Tasks commonly undertaken by a probate lawyer include:
  • Inventory of estate assets
  • Assessment of estate value
  • Overseeing payment of debts
  • Collecting the deceased’s life insurance policy
  • Handling taxes and bank accounts
  • Completing and submitting legal documents

Probate comes with many complex tasks, and it’s essential that they be performed correctly. A probate attorney ensures that all aspects of an estate are managed correctly so that beneficiaries can take possession of assets without issue.

Probate is a serious legal matter. The financial well-being of a deceased’s family members often depends on the correct administration of probate affairs. A probate attorney who lacks experience or cuts corners puts you at risk of consequences like delay, missing assets, and higher court courts.

A probate lawyer is paid directly through an estate. This means that you don’t need to worry about paying a probate lawyer until an estate’s assets are disbursed. The overall cost of a probate lawyer will depend on the specific situation of the estate. Cost can be impacted by matters like estate complexity or family dispute.

A knowledgeable probate lawyer should discuss fees upfront so you know what to expect. Contact Slater & Zurz at (330) 762-0700 to discuss how we can assist you in successfully navigating probate.