Most people assume that the work of a wills and estate lawyer is to help draft the testator's will. Unknown to them, the lawyer's work doesn't end until the beneficiaries receive their inheritance. Below is an article discussing the wills and estate lawyer's work after the testator's death.
Producing And Interpreting The Will
More often than not, testators leave their will in the hands of their wills and estate lawyer. Alternatively, they could confide in the lawyer where they have kept the will. If this is the case, the lawyer will produce the will once the testator dies. At the beneficiary's request, the lawyer will interpret the terms of the will.
Preventing Wills Disputes
Wills disputes are often avoided during the will writing process. However, beneficiaries that wish to dispute the will could opt to seek the advice of the lawyer. In this case, the lawyer can explain the testator's wishes and explain the implications of disputing the will. For example, if the beneficiaries dispute the will in court, the court could nullify the will. In this case, people that were not initially included in the will could seek to be enjoined in the case. As a result, the property could be divided among more people thus, the beneficiaries could receive less inheritance.
Assisting The Executor
The lawyer will advise the executor how they should file for probate. Typically, they will need a grant of probate, the original will, the testator's death certificate, an affidavit and the required filing fee. If the executor does not wish to conduct their duties, the lawyer will advise them how they can hand over their duties to another individual. They can assist in estate management before the estate is settled and will advise the beneficiaries on how to pay estate debts and transfer assets to the beneficiaries.
There are cases when testators hire wills and estates lawyers to act as trustees to trusts. Once the testator dies, the lawyer will manage assets placed under the trust and remit proceeds as per the terms of the trust. The lawyer will also prepare the beneficiaries for the expiry of the trust. For instance, if the assets placed under the trust are to transferred to kids once they attain adult age, the lawyer can offer vital information on how to manage the estate.
After the testator's death, the wills and estate lawyer will produce and interpret the will, prevent wills disputes, assist the executor and manage trusts.