Cedar Rapids Probate Lawyer

If you have recently lost a loved one, there is a lot to do and think about. Planning a burial and funeral service, cleaning out the deceased person’s home, and supporting other family and friends can all take your time and energy while you are already grieving the loss of someone you love. It may seem overwhelming to begin executing their will and dividing the deceased’s assets right away, but it is important to begin soon to meet the applicable deadlines.

An experienced probate lawyer can help you understand all that is required in the probate process and help you through it from start to finish. Contact the Cedar Rapids attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC today at (319) 363-8199 to discuss how we can assist you through the probate process.

Why You Need a Lawyer

Iowa law requires that you have an attorney for all probate cases. While there are many probate lawyers in the area, if you choose someone who is not experienced, it may cost you in the end. The probate process exists to ensure that heirs receive all that they are owed from the estate and that creditors have a fair way to have their debts repaid. Working with an experienced probate lawyer may help save you time in court and ensure equity and fairness for all involved.

Some people go to extreme measures to avoid the probate process. While sometimes this works out, it can often end up costing you more in taxes and can create problems. A skilled probate lawyer will be able to help you understand your options from the beginning so you can avoid costly mistakes.

Dividing assets can be a very touchy subject among family members and can often lead to disputes. When a beneficiary contests the will, or when there is no will in place to begin with, the probate process can take longer than anticipated. In these difficult situations, everyone benefits from having an experienced probate lawyer who can ensure that the legal process is followed correctly while the estate is settled.

Why Choose Arenson Law Group, PC?

Our attorneys strive to provide excellent legal services to our clients. This means we stay up to date with the latest legal practices, and we make communication with our clients a top priority. Several of our attorneys have received professional recognition from Martindale-Hubbell and other organizations. Most importantly, our clients consistently thank us for our professionalism, empathy, and creative approaches in their testimonials, which shows how our dedication and attention to detail truly make a difference for real people.

The Probate Process

Most estates will need to go through probate, regardless of whether or not there is a will. However, the process is generally much smoother if the deceased person already had a will in place. Overall, the probate process includes:

  • Filing correct documents in probate court
  • Validating the will in court
  • Inventory of the deceased person’s property
  • Appraising the deceased person’s property
  • Collecting proceeds from the deceased person’s life insurance policy
  • Paying off all debts
  • Paying all required taxes
  • Following the terms of the will to distribute assets
  • Determining the appropriate distribution of assets in court if not specified in a will
  • Transfer titles of property ownership to the appropriate beneficiaries

The complexity of the probate process can vary greatly depending on which steps are applicable in a given situation. Sometimes unexpected circumstances can arise during the process. A skilled attorney will be able to help you navigate even the most complicated probate issues that come up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Probate can be a complicated task and you likely have many questions. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions:

Which documents should I bring when I meet with a probate attorney?

You should provide your attorney with the deceased person’s will, life insurance policies, recent tax returns, and deeds to any property, as well as any other important financial information.

How long does probate take?

Iowa law requires an estate to be closed within three years of when the second notice is issued to creditors. However, many estates complete the probate process within one year. You should begin the process as soon as possible after the death occurs.

Does probate apply to all assets?

There are some assets that transfer directly to a beneficiary without going through probate. This includes

  • Property that is jointly owned (such as a home the deceased owned with their surviving spouse)
  • Assets that have named beneficiaries (such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, and bank accounts)
  • Anything in a living trust

However, even if the deceased person had these types of assets, you will likely still need to go through probate for the remaining assets that are not mentioned above.

Is probate required?

In most cases, probate is required by Iowa law. However, if the estate is valued under $50,000 and does not include real estate, you may be able to transfer the assets to the proper heir through an affidavit and avoid the entire probate process. If the estate is under $100,000, there is often an option for a simplified probate process that can save time and money. If you are unsure whether or not you will need to go through probate, our attorneys will help you understand what is required in your situation.

Contact a Cedar Rapids Probate Attorney Today

While you are grieving the loss of your loved one, you don’t need any additional stress with managing their estate. The probate process may sound intimidating, but it will go much more smoothly with the help of our attorneys. We recognize that dividing the deceased’s assets is not only an important financial step but also a way to share their legacy with those they care about.

Our attorneys are devoted to helping you feel comfortable with the financial and legal aspects of this process so you can focus on remembering your loved one. We are up-to-date with the latest laws and regulations regarding probate and estate management. Our attorneys consistently go above and beyond to help our clients in a time of need.

Contact us today at (319) 363-8199 to discuss how our firm can help you.