In most jurisdictions, there is no legal requirement to use a lawyer to complete a probate application. If the executor is very experienced with legal documents, they may wish to obtain a set of blank forms and decide if they want to try making the application on their own.
It is extremely important, however, that the probate application must be done on a “first time right”, timely basis, because without a grant of probate, the executor cannot move forward with most other aspects of the settlement process.
If there is the smallest error or omission on a probate form, the court will reject and return the entire package for corrections, thus delaying the estate settlement process by weeks, possibly months.
On this basis, QuickEstate™ recommends that the executor retain the services of an experienced estates lawyer. In most jurisdictions, any lawyer, who is a member of the local bar, can make a probate application. But unless the lawyer is experienced, or unless they have access to an estates lawyer or estates paralegal within their firm, it is likely that errors will be made and the application will be rejected by the court.
Most probate clerks will attest to the fact that applications made by inexperienced lawyers are routinely rejected because of errors and omissions. And while the inexperienced lawyer tries to figure out how to complete the forms properly, their legal fee clock keeps on ticking, at the expense of the estate.
The longer it takes to obtain probate, the more frustrated the beneficiaries become and the more exposed the executor is to liability in terms of dealing with the estate assets and liabilities on a timely basis.
So, while the QuickEstate™ Toolkit can be used for most aspects of the estate settlement process, but we strongly recommend that the executor use an experienced estates lawyer to make the probate application.
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