What’s Next? Understanding Wrongful Death and Probate

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If you’ve lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence, you’re likely feeling a range of emotions including shock, grief and anger. One thing you shouldn’t feel is frustration with your lawyer.

“Our clients are dealing with the emotion and stress of the initial accident, plus the loss of a loved one, plus all the anxiety surrounding the probate process. As their attorney we work to get the most out of their insurance, but also want to help them feel better by communicating regularly, answering their questions, and helping them understand what to expect,” says Iddins Law Group attorney Christian Pearson.

In wrongful death cases, probate is always required — even if the deceased has a revocable living trust in place. A personal representative of the estate must be appointed to receive the funds from the settlement. Talking to an attorney early is always a wise first step, even if you’re unsure if your loved one’s situation constitutes a wrongful death.

“That’s why Iddins Law Group offers complimentary 15-minute phone consultations. We’ll assess whether or not you need a lawyer, and suggest other firms in Kent if we’re not suited to your case,” Christian says.

Two Cases, One Attorney

In the case of a wrongful death, loved ones need an attorney for two separate situations:

  1. To prove that someone else was negligent and that caused the death of their loved one.
  2. To handle the probate, and the distribution of the estate to beneficiaries and any creditors.

It’s common to hire two separate law firms, one for probate and one for the wrongful death, and ask them to work together on both sides of your case. But Iddins Law Group does both, and Christian says that’s ideal.

“Because of our years of experience with probate we understand what the end result might look like, beyond the dollar amount the insurance company is offering. We’ll consider medical bills, realtor fees and other estate expenses, and we also know which assets can be accessed by creditors,” he says. “It’s really nice to have all of that information in front of me, rather than split between two offices. It’s also easier for clients, because they don’t have to repeat their story or duplicate documents.”

Wrongful death cases have become a significant part of the Iddins Law Group caseload, and that means they can anticipate many of the twists, turns and setbacks common with the territory. Where the average attorney may need to consult other counsel, Iddins Law Group has the depth and breadth of knowledge to manage most bumps in the road.

What to Expect

Wrongful death cases can last multiple years, and until that’s resolved, probate can’t close. The probate process on its own can often last nine months or more. It’s a long process, but doesn’t necessarily require frequent visits to the Iddins Law office.

“I often only need to see clients in person at the beginning and end of the case. But communication with your attorney is always key, and we’ll work together to gather all the necessary documents through every step of the process.”

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