Hiring a Probate Lawyer
Losing a loved one is painful. But staying calm and dealing with the legal proceedings post the death is as painful. You are not really in the frame of mind to talk as an ‘executor’ but you have to do your duty anyway. A probate lawyer is the answer to the dilemma you are facing.
What Does Probate Lawyer Do?
A probate lawyer can help you in several ways. Probate lawyers handle proceeds from the life insurance company, find and secure all the assets of the deceased person, prepare the paperwork for court proceedings etc. He also works with the executor in paying off debts of the deceased.
If you are wondering how to hire a probate lawyer, read on for suggestions.
You are not obliged to hire the same lawyer as that of the deceased. You can look for the lawyer easily using the below mentioned methods:
- Google Search
Google is the most popularly used search engine and so you will find information on any kind of service you need. All you need to do is go online and look for ‘Probate Lawyers near Me’. Distance is an important factor. You do not want to be caught up in traffic and lose time in commuting to meet the lawyer. A lawyer in the neighbourhood saves you from the onslaught of jam-packed traffic.
- Check with the Local Bar Associations
Local bar associations will definitely have registered members who are probate lawyers. Reach out to the local bar association if you can’t source the contact of a probate lawyer from anywhere.
In addition to this, you can ask your friends and family if they know a good probate lawyer. Since the subject is emotional, you would want to work with a lawyer who understands and is sensitive to your emotional condition and the pressure you are under.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Hiring a Probate Lawyer
Before hiring a probate lawyer, you should know about his background and track record. You would want someone who is experienced and adequately skilled to handle your case, especially if your case involves a lot of money.
Death of a loved one is a painful experience and you might not be in the right frame of mind to take decisions on the spot.An expert probate lawyer can help you execute the duties you have been assigned. You need to understand how competent the lawyer is, before you decide to hire him or her.
3. Adjustment level:
Pay attention to how is speaking with you. Since your situation is so sensitive, you will need someone who is ready to accommodate your request and pursue the case in an aggressive manner in the court, while being gentle and understanding with you.
It is important that you speak with the lawyer right at the start and understand the billing structure. Several lawyers charge at a flat rate basis. But if you are working with a firm, you need to ask for a breakdown of the cost they are charging you. You do not want to end up surprised at the end of it all.
How to Hire a Probate Lawyer
After you have shortlisted your prospective candidates, you will have to sit down and chat in a personal interview with each one on your list. During your interview, you need to ask all the right questions to the lawyer. This will help you judge, which lawyer fits you the most. So what are the questions one should ask a probation lawyer? Here are some questions that will help you understand your lawyer better:
- Number of Probate Cases Handled: Ask and understand how many probate cases has your lawyer handled in the past. There is advantage of hiring an experienced probate lawyer. The lawyer will be well acquainted with the legalities involved. He can prepare you with his foresight and experience.
- Person Representing You: In case of larger legal firms, cases are handed down to paralegals and junior attorneys. During your conversation, do not forget to ask who is going to be working on your case.
- Estate Tax Returns: If the property you are handling is extremely large. You need to file estate tax returns and this can be done by a probate lawyer.
Besides all these factors, you must also be able to strike a comfortable chord with the lawyer. During your interview, observe how willing he is to share information about himself and his firm. You must also note how much interest he is showing while you are discussing your case.
Another aspect you need to consider is his communication skill. Does he articulate well? This bit is essential as you do not want to be misrepresented in court. The lawyer should be able to clearly communicate with you so that you are in sync with him at all times.
Furthermore, if you are a first time executor, you need to learn the ropes now. You will have to find someone who understands the situation and is willing to cooperate and work together with you.
It is essential that you speak to a few lawyers before hiring one. This will update you on the current requirements and help you choose from multiple options. Do not settle down for the cheapest option as it might cost you heavily later. Based on the conversation you have had with each lawyer; think carefully which lawyer offers you the best deal.
Nobody can avoid death, but you can avoid being swindled or played by a lawyer because of your lack of knowledge of such laws. The best way to go about the entire process of hiring a lawyer is by researching and understanding such specific laws. This way there is hardly any chance for anybody to fool you.
Once you have hired a probate lawyer, you should also proactively reach out to your lawyer to understand the proceedings. So go ahead and check for a good probate lawyer with the above mentioned pointers in mind.