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Choosing a Probate Attorney

As the executor of an estate, one of the most important decisions you can make is whom you select to be your probate lawyer. You would like to see that everything is taken care of and that the deceased person’s will is carried out as conscientiously as possible. That’s why it is vital to choose an attorney who will help you carry out your duties in what can be a time of stress and conflict. Here are some criteria to keep in mind when the time comes for you to find a probate attorney. Find out the answers to these questions before hiring a probate or estate lawyer to ensure that you’re getting the best person for the job.

Where Do They Practice?

Finding a lawyer in your area is important, since laws relating to discharging property and estate taxes can vary by region or state. Apart from the convenience of having a lawyer who works nearby, the attorney will be knowledgeable about the local jurisdiction’s laws and best practices. Many legal websites offer searchable directories to help you find a probate lawyer in your area.

How Long Have They Been Practicing?

Try to find someone who has been dealing with probate law in your area for a long time. This will ensure that the attorney you choose is an expert in the field and can deal with any problems that might arise. In addition, you should familiarize yourself with any special certifications your lawyer has attained, as well as biographical details such as which law school they attended.

Are They in Good Standing?

See if your lawyer’s website includes testimonials from satisfied clients and ask for references to check the attorney’s record of handling estates. You can also check the state bar association’s website to see if the lawyer you are considering is in good standing. It is also a good sign if the attorney is a member of a professional organization such as the American Association of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Will They Meet You?

Most estate lawyers are busy, but they should still take the time to meet or speak on the phone with prospective clients. If it takes a long time to schedule a meeting, that may be an indication that the attorney you’re considering is simply too busy to take you on as a client. Also, the person you speak with may have to delegate a lot of tasks to their staff, so make sure you are comfortable with the lawyer’s office staff as well.

How Much Do They Charge?

Clarifying fees and payment from the beginning is a major concern. For example, most estate lawyers charge a flat rate for their services, but some may be hourly. Ask how long the process will take and how much it is expected to cost before hiring a lawyer. Be clear about exactly what the lawyer is doing for you and how much it will cost.

Deciding on the right probate lawyer will help make your estate planning duties go smoothly. To speak with a qualified, experienced Queens probate lawyer, call the law offices of Richard Cary Spivack for a consultation today.

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