10 Things You Must Know About Probate Lawyers

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Probate Lawyers
Scales of justice with judge gavel on table

In the US, probate is the legal process of settling a person’s estate after death. The estate generally consists of all the deceased’s property and possessions.

Probate can be a long and complicated process, especially if the estate has disputed claims against it. That’s why it’s often advisable to hire a probate lawyer to handle your behalf. Besides taking care of all the paperwork and legalities, a good probate lawyer can also help you resolve any disputes during the probate proceedings.

If you’re thinking about hiring a probate lawyer, you should know a few things first. 

If you are dealing with the death of a loved one, the last thing you want to think about is hiring a lawyer. However, if the deceased left behind an estate, you will likely need to go through probate to settle it. 

What is Probate?

The court will appoint an executor responsible for managing the estate and distributing the assets to settle the estate. The executor is typically a close friend or family member of the deceased.

If the deceased left a will, the executor would follow the instructions laid out in the will. Without a will, the executor will follow the state’s intestacy laws to determine its fate.

The probate process can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s important to have an experienced lawyer to help you navigate it.

But what is a probate lawyer? A probate lawyer is an attorney who specializes in handling probate matters. They can help you with all aspects of the probate process, from filing the initial paperwork to handling disputes.

Why Do I Need a Probate Lawyer?

You are not required to hire a probate lawyer, but it’s generally a good idea. 

A probate lawyer can also be helpful if there are any disputes over the estate. For example, suppose multiple beneficiaries are fighting over who should get what. In that case, a probate lawyer can help mediate the situation and resolve the dispute.

In addition, a probate lawyer can help you with the proceedings as the executor of an estate. It is a big responsibility, and a lawyer can help you understand your duties and make sure that you are following the law.

How to Find a Probate Lawyer

  1. Ask for recommendations:

Start by asking for recommendations from friends or family members who have recently gone through the probate process. You may also want to ask your regular lawyer if they have any suggestions. Also, check with your local bar association to see any recommendations. In addition, you can search online for “probate lawyers” in your area to find the best lawyers near you.

  1. Interview several lawyers:

Once you have a list of potential lawyers, it’s time to start interviewing them. It is your chance to ask questions and feel whether or not the lawyer is a good fit for you. However, don’t make your decision solely based on the lawyer’s personality – be sure to ask about their experience and qualifications. You can also check online reviews to see what others have said about the lawyer.

  1. Get an estimate:

Be sure to ask each lawyer for an estimate. Probate lawyers typically charge by the hour, so you’ll want to know how much they expect to charge. In addition, be sure to ask about any other potential costs, such as filing fees or court costs. Moreover, ask how the lawyer plans to bill you – some lawyers bill by the hour while others bill by the project.

  1. Make your decision:

Once you’ve interviewed many lawyers and received estimates from them, it’s time to decide. Choose an attorney with whom you feel at ease and who can effectively manage your case. Most importantly, be sure to choose a lawyer that you can afford. The more experienced and qualified the lawyer is, the more they will likely charge.

  1. Get everything in writing:

Once you’ve chosen a lawyer, get everything in writing. It includes the lawyer’s fee agreement and what the lawyer will do. It will help protect you if there are any misunderstandings down the road. Lastly, keep copies of all correspondence between you and the lawyer. It will come in handy if there are any problems down the road.

  1. Follow up:

Once you’ve hired a lawyer, follow up with them regularly. It will help ensure that they are doing their job and that your case progresses. However, don’t be afraid to ask questions or voice concerns – after all, you are the client. Fortunately, most probate lawyers are happy to keep their clients updated on the status of their cases.

  1. Be prepared for the worst:

Although you hope that everything will go smoothly, it’s important to prepare for the worst. Have a backup plan if your lawyer cannot resolve your case. It could include hiring a new lawyer or taking the matter to court. And, if worst comes to worst, be prepared to represent yourself in court.

  1. Know your rights:

Finally, it’s important to know your rights. It includes knowing when to file a claim and how to respond if you receive any legal papers. If you don’t know your rights, you could lose your case. An estimated 60% of people who go to court without a lawyer lose their case. Hence, you must know your rights and have a lawyer to protect them.

  1. Always be honest:

Being honest is the most important thing to remember when working with a probate lawyer. It includes being honest about your assets, debts, and intentions. If you try to hide anything from your lawyer, it could haunt you later. If you’re not honest, you could do more harm than good. After all, the whole point of working with a probate lawyer is to get the best possible outcome for your case.

  1. Be prepared to compromise:

Finally, remember that probate cases can be complex and time-consuming. As such, it’s important to be prepared to compromise. It means being willing to settle for less than you originally hoped for. It is the best way to resolve a probate case in many cases. After all, going to court can be expensive and time-consuming – not to mention stressful. If you are not ready to compromise, you could spend more time and money than you originally planned.

Bottom Line:

Probate lawyers can be a big help when settling an estate. However, it’s important to find a lawyer you feel comfortable with and who is affordable. Be sure to interview several lawyers and get everything in writing before making your final decision. And, finally, be sure to know your rights. After all, you don’t want to lose your case because you didn’t know what you were doing. Remember, knowledge is power, and having a lawyer can make all the difference in the probate court.