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Questions To Ask A Probate Lawyer

Questions To Ask A Probate Lawyer

A good probate lawyer is a resource for executors. They can guide you through the process step by step and give you documents that you can sign. In addition to assisting with the estate’s administration, a probate lawyer can assist you in paying your debts. If your loved one didn’t have any savings or investments, your probate lawyer can help you sell the assets to pay off the outstanding debts. In addition to assisting you with the administration of the estate, a probate lawyer can also prepare income tax returns and determine the inheritance taxes for your loved one. In addition to handling the estate’s checking account, a probate lawyer can collect the proceeds of a life insurance policy.

Probate lawyers are also able to help you with other estate-related matters. The probate process can take years to complete, so you may want to hire a lawyer who has years of experience. This is especially true for larger estates with large assets. However, this is an additional cost you can avoid if you have the money to pay a probate attorney. It is not recommended that you hire a lawyer for every small matter, but it is a good idea to make sure that you’re getting the right help to avoid any unforeseen delays.

Probate lawyers are an essential part of any estate administration. Not only do they help you prepare a will, but they also handle all the legal proceedings. They will make sure that the deceased person’s wishes are followed and their heirs are properly compensated. This is why a probate lawyer can be a great asset. A probate lawyer can help you with many types of estates, and they can help you with any kind of probate case.

While hiring a probate attorney can be expensive, it’s well worth the expense. It can be difficult to know whether or not to hire a lawyer who only charges a nominal fee. A probate attorney can help you to avoid the additional costs of a lawyer and the time. There are also several benefits of hiring a probate attorney. You will have the ability to get an efficient and inexpensive probate service. Most attorneys specialize in this area.

A probate attorney can handle a variety of tasks, including paying debts and preparing income tax returns. A probate attorney can also help you determine the applicable estate taxes and pay them on your behalf. Finally, a pro will make sure that the executors follow all the instructions of the will. If the executors are not willing to do so, a probate attorney can be a great asset to the estate.

Intestate individuals will often leave a will that isn’t valid. A probate attorney can examine this will to ensure that the will was created under duress or was in the best interests of the decedent. A probate attorney can also check the will to make sure that the decedent’s wishes were carried out. A probate attorney may even help the executors of an estate if the surviving spouse is unable to perform the task.

The probate attorney will help you transfer assets to beneficiaries. Using a probate attorney will ensure that the assets are distributed according to the will. A probate lawyer will be able to handle the details of the will and state laws. They will also help you close the probate if a will contest is filed. In addition to ensuring that the will is valid, a probate attorney will also help you deal with creditors and contesting it.

Nobody wants to call a probate lawyer. People only call when they are dealing with the loss of a family member and need help through the process. In the blink of an eye, a decedent’s assets can be heisted, pillaged, squandered, or frozen. Probate attorneys help to execute the deceased’s estate plan or intestacy laws so that this doesn’t happen.

But how do you choose the right probate attorney? Probating an estate is a process governed by many legal and family-level processes. When hiring a probate lawyer, there is no science or art apart from asking the right questions.

In cases in which probate is required, the executor of the estate or the next of kin cannot take the actions necessary to administer the estate without the authority granted by the probate court.

Probate is a complicated process that requires executors to prepare forms, meet deadlines, keep records, generate reports, submit filings to the court, and serve notices to creditors, heirs and local newspapers.

A Probate Attorney Will Prevent Personal Liability For Your Actions As Executor

Personal liability can arise in a probate situation if the executor makes an error in marshaling assets, generating reports, paying creditors and heirs in the wrong order or the wrong amounts, failing to obtain court authority before taking certain actions, or failing to give notice to the proper individuals in the proper manner.

The Probate Process Will Be Completed More quickly With An Attorney

The process can be extended by as much as several years if the executor does not prepare each form correctly the first time and give proper notice to all necessary parties, obtain the necessary signatures of heirs and interested creditors, and file the appropriate documents before each deadline passes.

A Probate Attorney Will Save Time For The Executor

Even if you hire an attorney, much of your valuable time will be dedicated to gathering and liquidating the estate’s assets, keeping records, paying bills, and making lists of creditors. Having to learn the law and local court procedure and generate inventories, accounting, and reports in a form that will be accepted by the court may make an already difficult task insurmountable.

A Probate Attorney Will Minimize The Potential For Disputes

Potential for expensive and time consuming probate litigation is significantly diminished if the probate estate in question is handled effectively, quickly, and efficiently by a professional.

If the estate is being handled in an unprofessional manner, creditors and heirs are more likely to be involved.

Hiring A Probate Attorney Will Minimize Stress On The Family

The net effect of speeding up the probate process, reducing the amount of time that the executor must personally dedicate to the case, and heading off any disputes in a professional manner is to minimize the amount of stress that the family of the deceased must deal with at a time when emotions are already high.

Families can be torn apart when money enters the equation.

If the executor is seen as acting in his or her own best interest at the expense of the heirs,
or as failing to competently handle the estate, this can cause interpersonal problems with loved ones.

Hiring an attorney will place a third party between the executor and the heirs and will allow the executor to focus on spending time and energy on his or her family.

I believe that there are essential questions to ask an attorney before hiring them to represent you:

What is the focus area of your practice?

Whether you are the decedent’s heir, beneficiary, or executor, you need to work with a probate attorney with real experience and expertise in the field. Specialty in estate planning and probate handling is a strong suit that’ll help streamline the process.

What is the job as a probate attorney?

 Estate management and distribution,
 Tax planning, and
 Conflict-free Will execution.

Have you executed a will before?

An estate planning attorney may yet have zero experience in will execution. Ensure to get a positive answer before signing them on.

My loved one died without a will.

Do I need a probate case?

Probate happens whether or not there is a will. The work of the probate lawyer will be a little different in each case.

 If the deceased had a Will, the executor should adhere to it.
 If there is no will, intestacy laws apply.
 In both cases, legal counsel streamlines the process.

How do you charge for your services?

Attorneys don’t list fees on their sites, so seek clarity before on this matter before you hire. Sometimes they use standard fees or hourly rates. Get the answers in advance to avoid unexpected expenses and nasty surprises after the probate process.

How long does probate take?

The answer to this depends on the size of the estate. Smaller estates can take a few months, while larger estates can take up to a year or more to probate. As one of the questions to ask an attorney, this probe helps weigh their field expertise.

What can I expect during probate?

Assuming you have no legal background, you’ll depend on the attorney to be transparent and proactively communicate through the process. This question helps to evaluate whether they are committed to transparency.

What are the duties of an executor?

If you are an executor named by the decedent or appointed yourself as so in a situation of intestacy, the probate attorney should help you understand your functions. They should help you manage assets, pay taxes and debts, and distribute funds to heirs and beneficiaries.

How do we handle creditors?

Another question that might help this meeting is how to deal with outstanding debts or financial obligations. When executing a will or intestacy requirements, all estate creditors are entitled to reimbursement from the estate’s proceeds. Your probate lawyer should draw up a plan for attaining liquidity and paying creditors.

What do I do if someone is mishandling the assets?

Soon after a donor’s death, beneficiaries, heirs, or even executors can mismanage the estate. A probate attorney should provide legal assistance to stop, remove these persons, or get compensation for the wasted finances.

Do you have expertise in estate planning?

If the deceased left a pour-over Will, it means that the assets mentioned be put in a trust. A probate attorney with estate planning or trust administration skills can be of great assistance.
How do I avoid probate?

When planning your estate, it’s important to remember that not all assets go through probate when you die. An estate planning attorney can help to create a will and plan your estate with strategies such as joint tenancy and trusts.

How do I reduce probate costs?

Probate cost reduction strategies should be top among the questions to ask a probate lawyer. If they know their job and are experienced in it, they should develop testator strategies such as paying debts and funeral planning.

How do you avoid probate disputes?

As a will executor or self-appointed estate executor, your job will not necessarily be a smooth sail. You may come face to face with angry beneficiaries and family members. A probate lawyer should be a fair arbitrator.

Which court handles probate? How do I start the process?

The sooner you start and get done with the process, the better. The process begins when you file a petition in the county where the deceased last lived. Finding the best probate lawyer makes the process much less stressful.

What do I do if challenges arise during the probate process?

Because probate cases involve the division of family finances, problems sometimes arise with this process. There may be allegations of undue influence or coercion that should be resolved before the final distribution.

Creditors can make claims that the executor does not believe he or she is eligible. Measurement problems may arise. Your attorney can review the legal issues surrounding your case and provide you with legal advice.

How can you be of assistance to a will executor?

A probate lawyer should work with executors throughout the process. He/she submit the will for probate, make filings for court proceedings, issue notices to heirs, beneficiaries, relatives, and creditors as stipulated by the law, and help executor in Inventorying probate assets.

How do I deal with insurance?

Your lawyer should help you claim if your deceased loved one had a life insurance plan. Sometimes the proceeds are paid directly to beneficiaries, but other times, they are paid to the estate probated.

How can a probate lawyer help the family?

A probate lawyer can help to dispute a will if you suspect its authenticity. They can help, via the courts, remove a will executor who is biased or mismanages the estate.

Have you handled a case like mine, and what did you experience?

Sometimes the will has very ambiguous clauses or gifts that can trigger intestacy. Jurisdiction problems, Will challenges, and a beneficiary’s death are also other issues that can complicate probate. The best probate attorney should have experience in these matters.

Need a Second Opinion?

There are times when you need a second opinion from another attorney. If you are currently in litigation, consider the following:
 Why is this taking so long?
 Is it your lawyer?
 Do you wish your attorney was more like your opposing counsel?
 Why is this costing so much?
 When will this be over?
 When should you settle and for how much?

If you have questions that your attorney is not answering, or the litigation has taken unexpected twists and turns, you should seek a second opinion.

What is the cost of a second opinion?

While many individuals ask for a second opinion after receiving a medical diagnosis, these same individuals feel hesitant to do so in a legal case. However, individuals are usually entitled to seek the advice of an attorney of their choice in order to receive a second opinion or other legal counsel.

Public Policy Considerations

An important public policy is to allow individuals to be able to have access to legal resources that they trust. This includes hiring an attorney whom the client trusts. Another important public policy consideration is being able to freely enter into a contract. Therefore, clients who retain the services of an attorney are usually entitled to ask someone else for a second opinion.

Reasons to Ask for a Second Opinion

There are several reasons why a client may seek a second opinion. For example, a client may feel confused about a particular legal issue. He or she may not fully understand the rights that he or she has in a particular situation. The client might want to learn about alternative options to the recommendation by his or her primary attorney. Getting a second opinion often allows a client to make decisions from a more informed standpoint.

Benefits of Seeking a Second Opinion

A client who seeks an opinion from another attorney may more thoroughly understand an issue after he or she receives the second opinion. The opinion may be confirmed by another legal professional, providing the client with greater confidence in the decision. Alternatively, the second opinion may result in the client wanting to go in another direction. If a law firm does not have sufficient resources, it may skimp on more expensive charges, such as hiring expert witnesses. However, a lawyer who offers a second opinion may explain whether such expenses are worth the cost or will make a significant difference in the case. Getting a second opinion on a case involving money damages for a settlement can also help the client learn if his or her expectations are in line with the reality of such cases.

While clients generally have the right to seek another opinion, there may be certain situations in which their lawyer is not providing the proper representation to the client. In these situations, it is often best that the client learn this information as soon as possible in order to make a change in counsel before too much damage is done.

For example, if the lawyer is giving the impression that he or she is too busy by not returning phone calls, providing rushed answers that do not take into account individual facts and details or always referring the client to someone else, the lawyer may not be prioritizing the case. If the lawyer does not have very much experience in the subject matter or has not conducted enough research to fully understand the legal issues, he or she may not be able to provide competent legal representation.

Another warning sign is if the lawyer has not filed a complaint, answer of important motions. Filing deadlines are strictly adhered to and a lapse can result in damage to the client’s case. Another red flag is if the attorney is pushing the client to a decision because that is the fastest way out, such as pleading guilty or accepting a settlement if these are not in the best interests of the client.


Clients are quite often stuck with the representations that their lawyers make on behalf of their clients. Losing the case and then claiming inadequate counsel may not successfully reverse the course of action. A lawyer can impact a person’s freedom, finances, job, family and other important aspects of a person’s life, so it is important that the client is able to trust the lawyer.

In small areas, it is important that the client clearly determine any conflicts of interest before providing confidential information to another lawyer. In this way, he or she can avoid revealing information to a lawyer who may represent an adverse party.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506