Going Through Probate? 3 Tips To Choose The Right Attorney

Going Through Probate? 3 Tips To Choose The Right Attorney

A death in the family can leave you with immense grief. But aside from emotional shock, you may also have to deal with the affairs of the deceased (also called the decedent). As a family member, you might be tasked to settle your loved one’s estate. The processes involved can be overwhelming, especially if you and the rest of the family are inexperienced in these matters.

Because it can be hard to deal with these processes, hiring a probate attorney might be necessary. The probate process is an extensive and complicated subject. As such, choosing the right probate attorney is crucial. This article will provide you with tips on choosing the right attorney.

Main Tasks Of Probate Lawyers

Probate lawyers generally deal with the administration of estates. Typically, they have two main tasks:

  • Transactional – Probate lawyers have to deal with administrative aspects of the estate. This includes submitting proof of death, the decedent’s last will, and even collating the properties of the estate or notifying creditors.
  • Litigation – Aside from administrative tasks, probate lawyers also have to be prepared for litigation. After all, probate is a court process where the execution and validity of the decedent’s last will is authenticated by a judge. For this, probate lawyers have to appear in court, protect the interests of their clients, and deal with relatives and beneficiaries who may oppose the will.

Knowing the main responsibilities of a probate lawyer can help you choose the best one. Below are some more tips to help you:

1. Choose One With The Right Experience

Not all attorneys face concerns that are related to probate or estate planning. Remember that attorneys usually specialize in a certain field, and they may not be handling matters regarding estates or even family law. As such, attorneys that are well-versed in wills, family and succession laws, property exchanges, and estate planning are usually the right ones to choose when you’re looking for a probate attorney.

So, before you hire a particular attorney, take note of their work history and professional experience. This will give you more peace of mind, knowing you’re getting someone who is capable of handling all matters regarding probate.

1. Make Sure They Can Communicate Clearly

You can ask your loved ones and friends if they’ve sought a probate attorney in previous years. If they hired one before, ask them how things went by with the legal professional. For instance, you may ask:

  • Were they understandable?
  • Did they provide answers to questions as needed?
  • Are they willing to take the time and explain everything more thoroughly?

Finding an attorney who can communicate clearly is crucial. The applicable laws and processes in probate are complicated for the average person. It’s therefore the probate attorney’s job to explain and simplify the rules and procedures for you and your family.


2. Consider The Attorney’s Reputation

When researching the right attorney, their professional experience is usually the first thing you’ll inquire about. However, it’s important to know their reputation and credibility too. In other words, your chosen probate attorney should have no history of sanctions, disciplinary censure, or suspension.

You may try to look for information online or inquire with the Australian Bar Association regarding any disciplinary action filed against a prospective attorney. Alternatively, you can ask your attorney right away if he/she has any disciplinary record or has dealt with an administrative complaint in the past. If they are completely honest and open enough to disclose these details, then they deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt.

Client feedback can also help. If the attorney’s previous clients have provided good feedback, it’s a sign that you might also become satisfied with his services. If you notice one or two negative reviews, consider it normal. Yet, if more clients share negative comments, it’s time to leave that person out of your list.

When you find an attorney with a good reputation, they’ll more likely strive to maintain their professional image. They can do this by providing you with the best possible service.

Wrapping Up

Experiencing the death of a loved one can be tragic. If your deceased loved one has tasked you to become the executor of their estate, then you have to deal with the probate process. Probate can be complicated, and it’s ideal to hire a probate attorney to handle your concerns.

To choose the right probate attorney, take note of the tips mentioned above. Knowing what to look for can save you time. It could also prevent you from experiencing additional mental and emotional stress that may be brought about by complicated court procedures.