How to Select a Probate Attorney

When an individual passes away, they leave behind various possessions and assets. These have to be shared appropriately, per their stipulations and in accordance with local laws. For this reason, many individuals enlist the services of a probate attorney.

The primary responsibilities of a probate lawyer are to ensure that all legal matters surrounding the death of an individual are handled properly. These include determining whether the will is valid and ensuring that all beneficiaries are listed. In addition, the lawyer must identify all debts and arrange for their payment.

A lawyer with extensive experience in estate law should be able to handle these tasks easily. However, if you are not familiar with this area of the law, you may need some help. The simplest way to find a reliable probate attorney is to ask around. Friends, family members and co-workers should be able to provide you with valuable information about their experience with a specific attorney.

You should also look into the attorney’s educational background and experience. Ideally, you should hire someone with a Juris Doctor degree. This is a three to four year long program that can lead to a career as an attorney. Moreover, you should choose a law school that offers a clinical program in estate law. This will make it easier for you to understand and deal with the complexities of probate matters.

Before you select a probate attorney, it is important to find out how much they will charge. The exact amount will depend on the lawyer’s level of experience and the going rate in your area. Nevertheless, you should not settle for a lawyer who charges less than what is required by the law.

Another crucial question is how long the attorney will take to complete the case. This is especially important if you are choosing an attorney who charges hourly. Getting this information in advance will help you budget accordingly. Additionally, it will enable you to avoid any surprises down the line.

It is possible that the probate process will be contested. If a beneficiary feels that the will is invalid or was written under duress, they may file a challenge to it. The probate attorney will then represent them in court. If the will is not challenged, the process should be fairly quick.

A good probate attorney will be able to explain the tax implications of any inheritance you receive. This is particularly true if the deceased person had outstanding debts. In such cases, the lawyer will make sure that all the debts are paid off in full before the distribution of the estate assets.

A good probate attorney will also be able to resolve any issues that arise in the course of the proceedings. These could include kinship hearings, contested wills, contested accountings and relief against fiduciary. It is important to know what issues can arise during the probate process so that you can prepare accordingly. It is also helpful to have a probate attorney who is familiar with the judges in your county. This will make the process much more efficient as they will be accustomed to how these judges typically handle their cases.

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