While a DIY project may be less costly than having a professional do it, it may not be the best way to go about it. Probate is generally one of those projects that an individual may want to leave to a professional. This is because there are up to 130 different statutes to learn and understand, multiple pleadings and legal documents to complete and high possibilities of being liable to both heirs and creditors.
There are several common errors that an individual may make when attempting to act as the personal representative of a state. First, he or she may fail to give proper notice to all heirs or interested parties. In a state like Arizona, for instance, an heir is anyone who would be given an inheritance if no will had been made. Creditors will also need to be notified when an individual dies to give them a chance to demand payment.
Failure to provide notice may make a personal representative liable for any debts owed if assets have already been distributed. Finally, an individual will need to obtain a bond unless the requirement has been waived. A bond is like an insurance policy that will cover any costs or other damages that may result from one or more mistakes made during the probate process.
After an individual dies, family members may want to meet with an attorney to discuss the probate process. While an individual may go through this process on his or her own, it may be beneficial to have an attorney present as he or she may have more experience and understanding of how the process works. In addition, legal counsel may be able to review any existing will or trust to determine its validity and possibly defend against any disputes that may arise.