Even when you have a referral for a probate attorney, it is still a good idea to interview more than one before making your selection. An in-person interview is a good way to ask questions about fees and billing. You can ask for a copy of their retainer agreement to review.
There will likely be taxes involved with settling the estate, and you can ask if the attorney handles those in the initial meeting. If they do not, they could be a resource for an accountant referral due to their experience.
There are also some other factors to consider when choosing a probate attorney.
Probate Attorney Case Experience
Probate cases are complex, and you want to select an experienced attorney who lists probate law as a specialty. You can simply ask them how many years they’ve been practicing probate law or how many cases they’ve handled.
If your case involves high-dollar real estate assets, you want to make sure they have experience in that area as well.
Do They Specialize as a Transactional or Litigation Probate Attorney?
Transactional probate attorneys handle the duties associated with finalizing the estate. If there was not a will, a transactional attorney names and hires an executor for the estate. A transactional attorney assists in the administrative process of settling the estate. In addition, a transaction probate attorney also submits the final will and death certificate.
If a lawsuit is involved or there is the potential for one, select a litigation probate attorney. A litigation probate attorney has experience with these types of lawsuits and courtroom proceedings.
Some attorneys function as both transactional and litigation attorneys. The type of probate experience needed depends on the situation.
Respect For Your Role as Executor
If you are an executor of an estate and are selecting a probate attorney, expect to work closely with them. In the initial meeting, discuss your level of involvement and expectations with the probate attorney. You want to select someone that respects the level of involvement you seek. Selecting the probate attorney that you are most comfortable with is also ideal.
If you are hiring a probate attorney, it is probably your first experience with the process. A probate attorney who can explain legal processes in ways that are easy to understand is best. An in-person interview can help you determine if the attorney’s communication skills are a good fit for your needs. A probate attorney should also be happy to answer your questions with patience.
There are times when settling an estate can be emotional for some of the parties involved. Selecting a sympathetic attorney with excellent communication skills will help you navigate the process smoothly.
Vance Hendrix is a probate attorney who has the experience and skill set necessary to assist you with the process. He will work with you to ensure you have the best possible outcome from the probate process. Reach out today to schedule a meeting with him to discuss your probate needs.