After the death of a family member or loved one, the distribution of their assets can sometimes be a smooth and straightforward process. However, many times, it’s not. Probate lawyers - also called estate or trust lawyers - help executors of the estate manage the probate process.
We understand that going through probate is an emotional time for everyone involved. If the heirs don’t agree with the terms of the will or the distribution of a trust, you will need a probate attorney with litigation experience to resolve the conflict.
Probate Attorneys can help you through every step of the probate process when it comes to the legal aspects of settling an estate. Your probate attorney can file the will, assist you with probate hearings, help you know all the deadlines for which you are responsible, ensure you understand the will and/or state laws regarding the distribution of property; and mediate any conflicts with heirs.
Probate estate administration
Power of attorney
Executors/personal representatives have a legal obligation to properly settle the deceased’s estate. This includes going through the complete court process, paying taxes and creditors, distributing assets among the heirs, and closing the estate.
An attorney can help you through this process, making sure you do not miss any steps or deadlines, guiding you through court proceedings and interpretation of the will, and properly distributing assets. Most attorneys will work with you so that you can decide if you want full-service or if you want to choose the steps you need assistance with. There may be some things you choose to do on your own.
Probate lawyer fees are paid by the estate, not the executor or administrator.
Many lawyers charge an hourly rate, but others charge a flat fee. Still others charge a percentage of the value of the estate.
You will want to find an attorney that is right for your needs.
Make sure you get a fee agreement in writing and that you fully understand what services are included in the agreement.
We will provide you with a list of qualified estate attorneys near you.
You are now able to contact up to three estate attorneys that you want to work with.
In most cases, we recommend meeting with an estate/probate attorney to ensure you know what you need to do if you are the executor or personal representative.
Someone will be named as representative by the court. If you want that role, you will need to apply. If there is no will, settling an estate can be more complicated. We recommend meeting with an attorney.
You, as the executor or representative, are not responsible for paying for the attorney. The estate is responsible for paying. There are a variety of payment options depending on how the attorney works. In some cases, you may be able to pay for only select services that you need. If there is a will and the heirs are in agreement, the process should be fairly fast and easy. In this case, you may not need the attorney to do too much. When the estate is more complicated, it will cost more.
It can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year. However, most estates are closed within a year. The length of time is dependent on several factors including whether there was a will, whether heirs are in agreement with the will and distribution of assets, the size of the estate, whether there were many debts and taxes to be paid, among other factors. Basically, the simpler the estate, the faster it will be closed. Any complexities can increase the time it takes to close the estate, and also increases the likelihood that an attorney is needed.