As the executor of someone's estate, it will be your job after they die to ensure that their estate is managed according to the wishes set out in their will and according to local laws. In some cases this will be very easy, but in many cases it's advised that you hire a probate lawyer who can guide you through this process and ensure that the estate is handled properly. Note a few indications that a probate lawyer may be needed.

1. If a family begins to disagree

It's not often that family members contest a will as they typically need to hire their own lawyer to do this and it can get very expensive for them, but it does sometimes happen. If a certain child seem to be favored over another, if a second family seems to be receiving a disproportionate amount of the estate, or if charities are being given a large part of an estate over family, this may convince someone to contest a will. If family members seem to start disagreeing about the will or begin to seriously question how the estate is being handled, a probate lawyer can step in and help to resolve these differences, or note if the person contesting the will has legal grounds for their protest.

2. If there is a business as part of the estate

Dividing up common assets such as household goods, vehicles, and bank accounts can be somewhat simple for an executor, but when a business needs to be sold or transferred, a probate lawyer may need to be called. The business may need to be appraised and managed during the sales process, and these are jobs best left to professionals. A probate lawyer with experience in handling businesses as part of an estate can assist.

3. If there are excessive debts to be paid

Many local laws will determine if certain creditors get priority over others and if creditors can make a claim on an estate. If the deceased had outstanding tax bills, credit card bills, or any other such debt, a probate lawyer can advise you on what legally needs to be settled out of the estate and if you may need to negotiate with creditors, or if certain creditors have a legal claim against an estate. If there are excessive debts of any sort against the deceased, talk to a probate lawyer about their assistance in this area.

For more information, contact a specialist like Griffiths & Godecke.