You may have been named as an executor of either your parents' or another loved one's estate, and now wonder how to go about your duties. While you certainly can go through the legal aspects of distributing their estate in the manner of the will on your own, it's a better idea to hire a probate lawyer to help you with your task.
If you have never hired a probate lawyer before, here are some tips on finding the right one to suit your needs.
Make A List Of Candidates
Your first step in finding a probate lawyer is to make a list of potential candidates to interview. You can do this by searching online in your local area for lawyers who handle probate law, or you can ask a lawyer you have already worked with for recommendations.
There are several websites online that list lawyers and their qualifications and experience. Read through each listing carefully and make note of the type of properties the lawyer has handled. If you are dealing with a large estate, you are going to want to find a lawyer with experience in dealing with high-end estates and property.
Once you have a list of potential candidates, contact them to arrange an interview. Make sure you have several you will sit down and talk with. This is an important decision, and you want to choose someone who fits well with you.
Interview Your Candidates
Make appointments to interview each candidate and make sure they understand that this is an interview and that you won't be making a decision on hiring right then. Have some questions you want to ask prepared ahead of time and make note of their answers. You could record the interview if it's easier than taking notes.
You should ask each probate lawyer how many cases they have handled and what was the manner of them. Do any resemble what you have to deal with? How did they handle any issues or problems that arose? Do they charge by the hour or is it a flat rate?
You should also find out if any legal assistants will help with the case and if that is included in the overall price. If you plan to do some of the work yourself, find out if that means you can have your costs lowered.
You can also find out if the probate lawyer can prepare the final tax return for the deceased person or if they can recommend someone who can.