If you are the executor of an estate, you may be wondering if you need to hire a probate attorney. Probate is the legal process for settling an estate, and it can be very complex.
Hiring an attorney to help you through the probate process can save you a lot of stress. But how do you know which attorney to hire? And what should you ask them?
33 Questions to ask a probate attorney:
- What experience do you have with probate law?
- How long have you been practicing probate law?
- How many probate cases have you handled?
- What is the outcome of these cases?
- Have you ever been disciplined by the state bar association?
- Do you belong to any professional organization related to probate law?
- Have you written articles or books related to probate law?
- Who are the parties involved in the probate process?
- What is the role of the executor in probate?
- What are the duties of the administrator in probate?
- Who are the heirs in probate?
- How are debts settled during probate?
- How are the assets distributed during the probate?
- What happens if there is no will?
- Can a will be contested?
- What are the most common grounds for contesting a will?
- What is the average time frame for settling an estate?
- How does the probate process work?
- How long do probate proceedings take?
- How much does the probate process cost?
- Who is responsible for administering the estate during the probate proceedings?
- What are the duties of the executor during probate?
- Can the executor be paid for their time and effort during the probate process?
- How are the deceased’s debts paid during the probate process?
- Are there debts of the deceased that will not be paid during probate?
- How will taxes be paid during probate?
- What assets are subject to probate?
- Which assets are not subject to probate?
- Can creditors make claims against the estate during probate?
- Are there deadlines that must be met during probate?
- What happens if the will is contested during probate?
- What happens if there is no will at the time of death?
- What are the most common misconceptions about probate?
38 Questions to ask a probate attorney before you hire them:
- Are you available to take my case right now?
- Do you have experience with the type of assets in the estate I am settling?
- Are you familiar with the state laws that apply to my case?
- How long do you think the probate process will take?
- What do you think the chances are that my case will be successful?
- What role will you play in the probate proceedings?
- Do I need to appear in court?
- How much will your services cost?
- Do you offer a free consultation?
- Can you provide me with references from previous clients?
- What happens if I am not satisfied with your services?
- How often will we need to communicate during the probate process?
- Who will I work with at your firm?
- How can I reach you if I have questions outside of our scheduled meetings or calls?
- What is your approach to resolving conflicts that may arise during the probate process?
- What are the risks involved in my case?
- What options do I have for dealing with this situation?
- What happens if I have to file a claim against the estate?
- What happens if I am named in a lawsuit related to the estate?
- What happens if there is a dispute among the beneficiaries about the distribution of the estate’s assets?
- What rights do I have as executor during the probate process?
- What are my responsibilities as the executor of an estate?
- Can I delegate some of my responsibilities as executor?
- What happens if I do not settle the estate within the prescribed time frame?
- What assets will need to go through probate?
- How do I determine the value of the estate’s assets?
- Are there any taxes that need to be paid on the estate? If so, how much are they and when are they due?
- Does the state have any claims on the estate?
- Are there any creditors that must be paid from the estate?
- How do I inform the beneficiaries and creditors about the estate?
- How do I distribute the assets to the beneficiaries?
- Can the beneficiaries waive their right to receive assets from the estate?
- What happens if a beneficiary challenges the will or demands more than their share of the estate?
- How can I protect myself from liability when settling the estate?
- What should I do if I am named in a will but do not want to serve as executor?
- Can I resign as executor after starting to settle the estate? If so, how do I do that and what are the consequences?
- What should I do if I am not sure whether or not I need to hire an attorney to handle the probate process?
- How can I avoid disputes among heirs after my death?
Frequently Asked Questions
Why would you need a probate attorney?
A probate attorney is needed to ensure that the deceased person’s wishes are carried out and that all of their assets are properly distributed. The probate process can be very complex, and it is often beneficial to have an attorney who can guide you through the process.
Who decides if probate proceedings are necessary?
The person who decides whether probate proceedings are necessary is usually the executor of the estate. If there is no executor, the court appoints a person to make that decision. The executor or appointed individual will typically look at the value of the estate and whether it is likely to be contested to decide whether probate proceedings are necessary.
What are the stages of the probate process?
The probate process usually consists of four stages: filing of the petition, issuance of probate certificates, administration of the estate assets, and final distribution of the estate. The process can take months or years to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the estate.
What can you expect from a probate attorney?
When selecting a probate attorney, it is important to consider the attorney’s experience and ability to handle complex legal issues. It is also important to find an attorney who is communicative and responsive to your needs. The probate process can be difficult and stressful. Therefore, it is important to have an attorney you can trust and who will be there for you throughout the process.
Hiring a probate attorney can be an important decision, but it does not have to be a difficult one. By asking these questions, you can get a good sense of whether or not an attorney is right for you and your needs.
You can also get a feel for the attorney’s personality and find out if they are easy to work with during this often stressful and emotional time. Trust your gut and choose the attorney you feel most comfortable with – you’ll be glad you did when it’s all said and done!
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