Estate Administration Lawyers in Dover, DE Can Help Families Administer a Loved One’s Estate After Death
The loss of a loved one is never an easy pill to swallow. Unfortunately, it’s often not just mourning and funeral arrangements survivors have to worry about. In fact, probate issues can last long after the funeral. If you’ve been tasked with administering an estate — or simply need someone to do so — hiring a legal professional may be in your best interest. An estate administration lawyer in Dover, DE can help.
At Schwartz & Schwartz, our Delaware wills, trusts, and estate attorneys can help you and your family handle any probate and estate issues. We serve clients in Delaware and guide individuals through the estate administration process with the Register of Wills in their respective counties. Our law firm can help in Sussex County, Kent County, and New Castle County. Contact us today to learn more and get started with the administration of an estate.
Do You Need Help With Delaware Estate Administration?
When someone loses a loved one, they’ll invariably ask themselves whether they need a probate or estate administration attorney in Delaware. This is particularly the case if the decedent left a will behind. After all, doesn’t the will dictate what happens to an individual’s remaining assets? While this certainly is the purpose of the document, estate administration involves so much more. And if a will wasn’t created prior to the decedent’s passing, seeking legal advice becomes even more important.
When someone had a will at the time of their death, the distribution of their assets is governed by their will and relevant Delaware law. In some instances, the latter can result in certain outcomes that were not directly stated in the will. For instance, a surviving spouse may have an Elective Share even if there was no provision specifying a share of assets. Additionally, the executor of an estate will also have to handle things like inventory, paying debtors, and other issues discussed in detail later in this guide.
If your loved one did not have a will, Delaware intestacy laws will govern the distribution of the estate. In many cases, this will favor the surviving spouse. However, there are numerous complexities to intestacy laws in Delaware. For instance, an heir that dies within 120 hours of the decedent will be considered predeceased for the purposes of asset succession. This can create questions in instances where multiple family members experience a fatal accident. Regardless of the circumstances, though, a Dover, DE estate administration lawyer can help.
What Is a Small Estate Affidavit?
In the state of Delaware, going through formal probate may not be necessary if certain requirements are met. If an estate has $30,000 or less and contains no real estate, it’s possible to file a Small Estate Affidavit and avoid the probate process altogether. This filing must not occur until at least 30 days after the decedent has passed on. If there’s a will in place, only the decedent’s spouse and others who would be entitled to a portion of the estate have the right to file the paperwork.
Before filing such paperwork, though, it’s necessary to ensure there are no current petitions with the Register of Wills in the county the decedent resided in. If there are, two petitions cannot be processed at once. In such a situation, issues could arise that lead to litigation. It’s possible to avoid such issues, however, with the help of a skilled legal professional. Our estate administration attorneys in Dover, DE cannot supersede Delaware law, but we can ensure you receive everything you’re legally entitled to.
How Does Probate for Larger Estates Work?
A Small Estate Affidavit can simplify things. However, it’s not appropriate in all cases. When remaining assets meet certain qualifications, issues are typically too complex to handle as you would a small estate. Regardless of the size, however, an estate administration lawyer in Dover, DE can help things progress more smoothly. In the case of larger estates, they do this by assisting in the following:
- Opening an estate in the appropriate county’s Register of Wills.
- If one exists, file the original will and any codicils.
- Receiving letters testamentary or letters of administration.
- Providing notice of the estate opening.
- Inventorying assets within the estate.
- Collecting claims against the estate by creditors of the decedent.
- Petitioning Chancery Court to determine the order of payment for creditors.
- Paying necessary taxes and creditor claims.
- Distributing remaining estate assets to the decedent’s heirs.
If this seems like there are a lot of issues to unpack, that’s because there are. This is why it’s so important to seek out legal help in these matters. A simple mistake can turn very costly during probate and estate administration, and this can lead to disagreements, litigation, and even properties not being administered as intended. Don’t risk these troubles by trying to save a few dollars — because doing so often has the opposite effect. Reach out to our Delaware estate administration attorneys today.
Contact an Estate Administration Lawyer in Dover, DE Today
There’s a lot going on when we lose loved ones. Unfortunately, administering their estate can sometimes get in the way of mourning. In fact, such issues can carry on for months or even years after a decedent passes on. This is particularly the case if an executor or surviving family members have no legal experience. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this on your own. With a legal professional by your side, administering an estate can be simplified.
At Schwartz & Schwartz, Attorneys at Law, our team of experienced legal professionals have spent years handling probate, estate planning, administration, and other estate issues for our clients. We understand that this may all seem like a lot to deal with, and that’s why we’re ready to assist anyone who may need our assistance. Contact us today by calling (302) 678-8700 to schedule a consultation. Our estate administration lawyers in Dover, DE are here to help.