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What is the Difference Between a Probate Lawyer and an Estate Lawyer?

November 01, 20232 min read

When it comes to legal matters involving the management of an individual's assets after their passing, the terms estate law and probate law are often used interchangeably.

However, these two terms actually refer to different aspects of the process. Understanding the difference between a probate lawyer and an estate lawyer can be crucial in ensuring that your estate plan is properly handled.

That’s why in this article, we will explain the differences between these two roles.

Probate Law:

Probate law regulates the process of managing and distributing an individual’s assets after they pass away. It is a court-supervised legal process, which includes the gathering of all assets, inventorying them, paying off any debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries designated in a will or state law.

Probate lawyers are experts in navigating the probate process and representing clients in court during any disputes. They deal with issues such as claims against the estate, challenges to the validity of the will, and disputes between beneficiaries.

Estate Law:

On the other hand, estate law refers to the comprehensive and ongoing process of managing an individual’s assets during their lifetime and after their passing. Estate planning includes creating a plan for the distribution of assets, preparing documents like wills and trusts, designating beneficiaries, and minimizing taxes.

Estate lawyers work with clients to draft and implement estate plans that provide for the efficient and smooth transfer of assets to heirs, trusts, or other designated parties. They can also provide guidance on matters such as the selection of executors, trustees, and guardians for minor children.

The Differences:

The key difference between probate law and estate law is that probate law deals specifically with the legal process of distributing assets after an individual’s death, whereas estate law encompasses the broader process of managing all of an individual’s assets throughout life and after death.

Probate law is triggered upon death, while estate law is a continuous process that allows individuals to plan for their future needs and protect their assets during their lifetime.

An estate lawyer can also assist with legal issues that may arise during the estate planning process, such as tax-related matters or asset protection strategies.

To Sum Up:

It is important to consult with both a probate lawyer and an estate lawyer to ensure that your estate plan is comprehensive, well-structured, and legally sound. Understanding the differences between these two roles can help ensure that you have the right legal support when you need it most.

Whether you are just starting to plan your estate, or you are dealing with the loss of a loved one and need assistance navigating probate law, working with knowledgeable and experienced attorneys can give you the peace of mind you need.

So, it is essential to do your research and find the right legal team to guide you through these complex legal processes.

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Maggie Mauer

Maggie Mauer is an attorney in the Houston, Texas greater area.

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