Many people choose estate planning over merely writing a last will and testament, as leaving behind just one document (a will) doesn’t offer the comprehensive directives that an estate plan provides. A will does serve as a legal representation, though, that dictates how the author’s assets will be divided up and their last wishes carried out following their passing. Whether a will stands alone or as part of a larger estate plan, when someone who has a will passes away, the court must first establish the validity of that will. This is customary for all wills and is referred to as probating the will. In fact, the definition of probate is the “official proving of a will.”
Probate litigation refers to the legal process of resolving disputes that arise during the probate process, typically involving the validity of a will or the distribution of assets to heirs or beneficiaries of the deceased. It may be necessary if there is a dispute or the deceased did not leave a will. The process can easily become complex and time-consuming and may necessitate the services of a Lancaster estate planning attorney. While hiring an estate planning lawyer is not required in South Carolina probate court, it can make the process a lot easier for those involved.
The well-qualified estate planning lawyers at Mack & Mack Attorneys encompass four generations of legal counsel, so the experience and knowledge of state law they can offer are likely incomparable. They are eager to assist families with estate planning to get things in order now so their loved ones don’t have to deal with uncomfortable circumstances later. They are also prepared to offer legal counsel and professional representation in an estate administration in Lancaster. Whether trusts are involved, with or without a will, and even if one party contests the division of assets, Mack & Mack Attorneys are prepared to help settle disputes.
Probate litigation in Lancaster, SC can require a variety of legal proceedings, including will contests, which means someone is challenging the validity of a will, trust disputes, which means someone is challenging the management or distribution of assets held in a trust; or disputes involving the appointment of a personal representative or executor of the estate. Whatever issues arise in the probate process, probate litigation can get complicated and drawn out. Hiring an experienced Lancaster probate litigation attorney can significantly speed up the process and get issues worked out more efficiently than self-representing your case.
The probate process involves many components. Some of the main things accomplished in probate include the following:
Carrying out these steps involves a lot of paperwork, time, and courtroom appearances. Hiring a Lancaster probate lawyer to handle interactions with the court, file necessary court documents, and act on behalf of the deceased or on behalf of those handling estate administration can reduce the amount of time the probate process takes. A Lancaster probate lawyer who has been through similar situations with previous clients and who understands the laws regarding estate administration in Lancaster can help avoid errors and can even help mediate disputes when necessary. Furthermore, hiring a lawyer with a good reputation for winning cases in which litigation is necessary is also a good idea.
While a power of attorney and an executor have responsibilities that may overlap, there is one significant difference between the two. A power of attorney is a document that names someone to act on your behalf in the event you cannot make sound decisions for important matters while you are still alive. On the other hand, an executor is someone you name in your will to make sure your last wishes are carried out as your will dictates.
The person authorized to act on your behalf, according to a power of attorney, is called an agent or attorney-in-fact. The authority granted to them can be broad or limited and may give them control over important decisions such as managing finances or making medical decisions. It is important to choose carefully when selecting someone as your agent; this should be someone you trust. Additionally, you should make sure to clearly define the scope of their authority in the power of attorney document.
A power of attorney can be useful in situations where you may not be able to make decisions for yourself due to illness or incapacity or if you are unable to manage your affairs for another reason. Many people ask a trusted attorney to act as their agent in the event decisions cannot be made. If the lawyer obliges, this is an acceptable practice and an option for individuals who have no one else they trust to make decisions on their behalf.
An executor will do such things as manage assets, oversee trusts, pay debts, and distribute property to your beneficiaries following your death. When estate planning, many people name a willing and trusted estate planning attorney to act as executor of their will. Asking a third party who is not emotionally connected to the family or beneficiaries to carry out the actions set forth in a will without bias can make potentially disagreeable situations easier.
If you or someone you love is in any phase of the process of estate planning or has come to realize they need professional legal counsel to assist them in the probate process, Mack & Mack Attorneys firm is prepared to assist. Contact Mack & Mack Attorneys for a consultation to determine how their qualified legal team can most appropriately serve your situation. If you are facing probate litigation, it is essential to act fast to get a jump start on the proceedings in preparation for potentially proactive opposing counsel. Mack & Mack Attorneys can answer any questions you have about your case.