Probate Attorney that understands probate law. Is your lawyer one of them?
Hiring a probate attorney is an important part of estate planning. Lawyers who specialize in estate planning can assist individuals in utilizing techniques to keep all or part of their assets out of probate. However, when someone dies intestate (without executing a Will), the family will want to seek out a probate attorney to oversee the estate.
When hiring a probate attorney, it is important to seek out a lawyer who possesses skills in the type of estate you own. For instance, if real estate and financial portfolios are part of the estate, you would want to hire a lawyer with a background in these areas.
Probate lawyers typically charge a flat rate or percentage of the total estate. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, attorney fees could become substantial. In some instances, the estate administrator can handle part of the responsibilities such as filing the death certificate in probate court or submitting creditor notification and tax assessment forms.
When possible, it is a good idea to interview 3 to 4 probate attorneys. You want to work with an attorney who not only has a solid background in probate law, but is also compassionate during a difficult situation. There is nothing more frustrating and insulting than to work with an attorney who shows no interest in the decedent.
When meeting with probate attorneys, you will need to provide information about the estate. This will include real estate holdings, creditor accounts, life insurance policies, pre-planned funeral arrangements, financial portfolios and a copy of the Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust.
To locate a probate attorney in your area, contact the American Bar Association or American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. Additionally, ask family and friends for a referral.