Do You Need to Find a Probate Attorney?
Most probate estates settle without incident. The steps of probate happen without complications, and the heirs usually receive their inheritance within a year of the estate being opened. In the following circumstances, though, probate may be complicated enough that you will need to find a probate attorney:
- There are multiple versions of the will, and it is not obvious which one is the authoritative one.
- Someone disputes the authenticity of the will.
- Creditors make claims against the estate, and you wish to contest these claims.
- There is a dispute about who should be the personal representative of the estate.
- Someone wishes to reopen the estate after it has closed, claiming that it was not settled correctly.
How to Get the Probate Services You Need
Before hiring a probate attorney, you should research the attorneys you are considering hiring. The first thing to check when finding a probate attorney is if they offer a free consultation. Before the consultation, research the probate process and its requirements. During the consultation, see whether the lawyer is telling you anything you did not know. Ask if it is possible to fulfill the various requirements of probate by yourself. Keep in mind, when you hire a probate attorney you will most likely pay them statutory fees for their services. Although there are various types of legal fees, it is highly unlikely that you will find a probate attorney that does not charge the California statutory fees. This means that the more the estate is worth, the more you will pay the lawyer.
In most cases, dealing with probate feels like a more elaborate version of preparing and filing your income tax return. In the majority of cases, you do not need a probate lawyer to get through the probate process. However, if there is a dispute about the estate or the will, you might consider hiring a probate attorney. A probate attorney can help deal with legal disputes or contested hearings when the outcome is uncertain. In these cases, however, you may want to find a probate attorney that is willing to work on a” limited scope” basis. In other words, the attorney is being hired to handle only a specific part of the case. This limits the attorney’s involvement to the complicated probate issues. The non-attorney probate legal document preparer can continue to help with the standard probate process. Remember, most probate cases are very straightforward and rarely have contested issues. However, when there are problems that require an attorney, this combination of services provides substantial savings as compared to hiring a probate attorney for the entire process. Based on your own research or what you find out during the consultation with the lawyer, always keep in mind that hiring a probate attorney is not your only option.
Alternatives to Hiring a Probate Lawyer
Registered legal document assistants offer document preparation services for a variety of legal processes. Instead of searching for a probate attorney, a legal document assistant that specializes in probate can easily get you through the probate process. They can prepare your probate forms professionally for a fraction of the cost that a lawyer would charge you for the same services. A registered legal document assistant has the professional qualifications to prepare legal documents without the supervision of a probate attorney. Remember, however, getting through probate is much more than preparing forms. When hiring a legal document assistant, make sure they also provide extra value services such as case management, filing of documents and making sure you complete all the necessary steps.
A People’s Choice is an Economical Option for Probate
When you are anticipating an inheritance, probate always seems slow, but it does not have to be expensive. Most people can do without having to find and hire a probate lawyer. Contact A People’s Choice about getting a professional legal document assistant to prepare your probate forms. Call us today at 800-747-2780.
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