Dealing with the death of a loved one is nerve-wracking. However, this is more overwhelming if you are named as the executor of the deceased’s will. Here, choosing a probate lawyer is imperative.
As the executor, you’ve got more roles than just ensuring the decedent’s estates are distributed according to their will. You will need to obtain their death certificate, settle all financial obligations, file deceased tax returns, and more.
Also, when handling these responsibilities, you need to do them per the law and avoid family legal ties. To save the day, you need to hire a reputable probate lawyer. This lawyer is adept with the intricate probate process and winding up of an estate.
However, all probate attorneys aren’t created equal. And if you get it wrong, you add salt to the injury. The process will become more complicated, stressful, costly, and time-consuming.
When choosing a probate lawyer, you’ve got no room for error. But how do you choose the best with the multiple options for lawyers out there? To help you out, here are tips for choosing the best probate lawyer.
Do you have friends or colleagues who have ever worked with a probate lawyer? If yes, it’s wise to consult them before choosing your attorney.
Ask them about their experience with the probate lawyer that served them. For instance, you can ask if the lawyer was:
• Professional and knowledgeable
• Easy to understand and work with
• Organized and efficient
• Trustworthy and reliable.
If they meet the criteria, ask your friends for recommendations.
If your recommendation list is too long, identify your prospective options to shorten it. Then, contact each one of them to learn more about their services. If possible, book an appointment to interview them.
In case a potential attorney turns down your request to visit and interview them, don’t hesitate to cut them off your list. This is an indication they might not be who they claim to be.
Also, visit a local bar association website while reviewing your potential lawyer options. It’ll help you find out whether the lawyer is licensed to practice in the state. Scratch them off your list if their license is outdated.
Looking into the lawyer’s expertise is vital before you hire them. Their experience will determine if the probate process will be accomplished seamlessly. Ask a probate lawyer about their experience with the probate administration process.
With multiple areas of specialization in law, hire an expert who has experience in probate law. They’ll have the know-how to prepare and file any documents that are needed in a probate court. Also, they’ll relieve you of the burden of finding and securing the decedent’s properties.
When reviewing the attorney’s experience, don’t forget to check how long they’ve been practicing probate law. The longer the lawyer has been in practice, the more the experience. So, if possible, avoid hiring probate lawyers who have recently joined the industry.
Check on Reputation
A lawyer’s reputation is key and shouldn’t be compromised at all costs. A strong reputation is a reflection of the lawyer’s high-quality services. Thus, find a probate lawyer with a strong professional reputation.
To be assured that your potential lawyer is reputable, read online customers’ reviews and ratings from their websites. A reputable lawyer has multiple positive reviews and few negative comments from their clients. If the negative reviews outweigh the positive ones, cut off that lawyer from your list.
In addition, you can search your prospective lawyer on Better Business Bureau and on Google My Business listings. Take time to read a handful of customers’ comments from each site. Pay attention to comments about the lawyer’s treatment and attitude to the clients.
With a reputable probate lawyer, rest assured of completing your probate process successfully. They strive to protect their image by offering the best possible services.
Ask For References
Before settling with a potential attorney, request for contact details of their past clients. You want to reach out to them and get the info right from the horse’s mouth. By speaking directly to their past clients, you can get crucial insights and determine whether they are really a good fit for you.
A reputable probate lawyer won’t be hesitant to provide you with the contact details of a few of their past clients. Furthermore, they know you are likely to pick them after getting positive reviews.
However, if the attorney is not willing to offer you past client’s contact detail, avoid them. This might signal they are not straightforward and might be hiding something.
When reaching out to the clients, you want to learn about their experience working with the attorney. Were they happy and satisfied with the offered services? Would they work with the same attorney if the need arose again?
Depending on the information provided, you can make an informed decision on whether to pick the attorney or not.
Check on Fees and Expense
When picking a probate attorney, legal fees are a key consideration. You want to determine how much the attorney will charge for the legal services and if they meet your budget. Also, check on the attorney’s mode of payment.
When developing your budget, you need to come up with a reasonable amount that you wish to spend. Avoid a budget that is either too low or too high.
If you are not sure about the legal fees, consider comparing lawyer fees. Reach out to several attorneys and ask for their quote, and you’ll get an idea about a realistic budget. Also, avoid picking cheap lawyers as this may indicate poor services or other hidden fees.
Here’s a Guide to Choosing a Probate Lawyer
Winding up the deceased’s estate can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. However, working with a reputable and skilled probate lawyer can make all the difference. The lawyer will ensure a smooth, less stressful, and fast probate administration.
Here are the top tips on choosing a probate lawyer.
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