Probate Attorneys – How They Can Help You Settle Your Loved One’s Estate

A probate lawyer has the experience to know what is needed to get your loved ones estate settled. They also understand how to avoid costly and time consuming mistakes that may delay the process.


They assist with distributing assets according to the terms of the estate plan and pay any final bills or debts. They can also help resolve disputes among beneficiaries if necessary. Click Here to learn more.

When it comes to settling the estate of a deceased loved one, there is no shortage of paperwork and legal requirements. A probate lawyer helps you navigate the process, including filing necessary documents with the court. Their services can range from locating and assessing assets to ensuring that debts are paid. They can also help you settle disputes over the estate.

When choosing a probate attorney, it is important to ask about their experience. It is especially important to ask how long they have been in the business, and whether they have handled similar cases to yours. It will give you a sense of how much they have learned over the years and their familiarity with your situation.

You should also ask the attorney what they think the average probate case takes and how they handle delays. It can be frustrating when your estate is held up because of unanticipated issues, so it is a good idea to make sure that you have chosen an attorney who is comfortable handling such situations.

It is important to show up to your first meeting with the probate attorney prepared with all of the pertinent paperwork. This includes the decedent’s last will and testament, any trust documents, an inventory of all property owned by the deceased, appraisals of those properties, a list of creditors, and the names and addresses of all heirs and beneficiaries. In addition, you should bring a copy of the death certificate or an obituary with the date of death.

The lawyer will need to have all of this information in order to prepare for a hearing and ensure that you are well prepared for any questions or concerns that might arise. It will also enable the attorney to better advise you and protect your interests.

It is a good idea to ask the attorney how quickly they respond to phone calls and emails. If you have a busy schedule, you need to know that your probate attorney will be responsive and that they will take the time to address any concerns you may have.

They Keep You Updated

While probate attorneys help the executor of an estate with their legal obligations, they also keep beneficiaries and heirs updated on what is happening. This can be a lifesaver for those who may have disputes with the estate or simply want to stay abreast of activities that may impact their inheritance. For example, a person could contest being left out of a will, there may be debt issues with inherited property, or an issue might arise in which heirs cannot agree on how to distribute assets.

A full-service representation model from a probate lawyer typically includes helping the executor of an estate locate and assess assets, understanding and paying any debts, filing final income and estate tax returns, and making final distributions to heirs. They also handle tasks that are more complicated or difficult to manage, such as obtaining letters of administration when someone dies without a will or a named executor.

If an executor of a will does not hire a probate attorney or hires a less experienced one, they can be held liable for fiduciary misconduct. This means that heirs and creditors can file a claim against them, so having a trusted probate lawyer on your side can make all the difference.

Whether you choose an attorney that bills hourly or offers a flat fee, you should always discuss exactly what services they will provide and how much they are charging upfront. This will help prevent any surprises down the road and allow you to choose an attorney that fits your budget.

Although there are benefits to retaining a probate attorney, the decision ultimately comes down to how big or complex the estate is and your level of comfort with handling it yourself. We encourage you to schedule a free consultation with our team to discuss your options and decide what is best for you and your loved ones. You can contact us online or call us at 916-315-8756. Our team is ready to help you through this difficult time. We can also guide you through the process of establishing an estate trust, which can help protect your family’s finances from probate costs.

They Save You Time

A probate attorney knows the ins and outs of the local court system. They can save you time by handling hearings, filings, and other proceedings on your behalf. Additionally, probate attorneys are familiar with the specifics of estate law and can often identify tax-saving strategies that may benefit you.

Probate attorneys also help settle complicated estates, which can require special attention to issues like complex financial situations and significant debts. They can also manage the process of distributing assets to beneficiaries in accordance with the decedent’s wishes or state law (if there was no will).

Moreover, a probate attorney can help ensure that all necessary taxes are filed, including estate and inheritance taxes. This is especially important in cases where the estate owes substantial amounts of money. Having someone with experience in estate and income tax matters can save you both time and money in the long run.

When determining whether to hire an attorney for your estate settlement, it is important to consider how comfortable you are with navigating the probate process and how complex your state’s laws are. In addition, it is important to understand the fee structure that you will be expected to pay. Some probate lawyers charge an hourly rate, which varies by location, while others charge a percentage of the estate value. Regardless of what you choose, it is best to request an itemized list of fees and get them in writing.

It is also helpful to hire an attorney who regularly practices in your jurisdiction, as judges and counties can have unique rules that can affect how long the process takes. An experienced attorney will be familiar with these rules and will be able to navigate them more quickly and efficiently than an attorney who doesn’t regularly practice in your area.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that some probate attorneys request a statutory fee, which is set by state law. This is often based on the gross value of the estate (the total worth of all assets, including real property and business interests), rather than its net worth (the total value of the estate minus any outstanding debts). These fees can appear quite high to some people.

They Save You Money

When someone dies, their estate must be administered. Probate attorneys work to minimize the amount of time and money needed to complete this process. They also help avoid expensive litigation and keep heirs happy. In fact, a probate attorney can save you thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Probate attorneys either charge an hourly rate or a flat fee for the case. These rates vary by location, as well as how specialized and experienced an attorney is. The cost of a probate attorney can be a huge concern for people who are considering hiring one. They may not know how much it will cost to hire an attorney, or even how long the case will take.

It is not uncommon for cases to be delayed and the costs to mount. This is why it is important to have a probate lawyer who can anticipate and accommodate delays, as well as provide you with a realistic timeline for the case. This is particularly important for those with complicated or large estates, as these can often have issues that arise during the process.

The average probate attorney charges between $150 and $400 an hour, depending on the attorney’s location and how specialized and experienced they are. For those on a tight budget, a probate attorney can negotiate an hourly rate or a flat fee to reduce the overall costs of the case. It is also possible to hire a probate attorney on a contingency basis, meaning that they do not receive any compensation until the case is settled.

In many cases, there are other costs associated with probate, such as court submitting fees, appraisal fees, e-book fees, and prices for other expert services (such as accountants or appraisers). These fees are typically paid from the estate and deducted from the property before it is distributed to heirs.

Whether you are planning your own estate or dealing with the death of a loved one, a probate attorney can be an invaluable resource for you. They can guide you through the entire process, from preparing and filing documents to managing and distributing assets to heirs. They can also assist with a wide range of litigation matters, including kinship hearings, contested accountings, contested wills, relief against fiduciary, and spousal elective share disputes.