As with any area of the law, it is frequently a good idea to do your research when it comes to the need to possibly hire an attorney to represent you in a case. Without question, you are not only able to achieve better results with the assistance of an attorney in a probate case but they can also avoid making mistakes that can potentially harm your case a great deal. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in an experienced probate attorney is someone that you need to have in your corner.
However, when it comes to hiring an attorney you may also have concerns over how much it will cost to do so. This is a normal and fairly typical concern to have. If you have never had experience with the probate case before and are concerned about your ability to manage the expectations and requirements of a family lowercase then today's blog post is for you. I would like to discuss with you issues related to the cost of hiring a probate attorney as well as what to consider when you are beginning the process of doing so.
A lot is going on surrounding a probate case
When it comes to the need to hire a probate attorney the reality of your situation is that you likely have many collateral circumstances occurring at the same time as the need to hire a lawyer. For example, let's suppose that you're spouse has just recently passed away. Beyond the grief and anguish that you are experiencing do the death of your spouse you have many relational, familial, and financial circumstances that are ongoing associated with their passing.
You are necessarily having to go through his or her property and possessions to determine what if any next steps you need to take. The personal possessions of your loved one may show that he or she owned property that you were unaware of or that he or she had deaths that you likewise were unaware of. Suppose that you go through your loved one's wallet to discover that he had credit cards that you were unaware of. My first thought at that specific circumstance would be that you may need to check their credit report to determine if there are any outstanding debts in their name that you are unaware of.
Next, we need to consider the various types of expenses that may be surrounding the death of your loved one. Depending upon your wants and the wishes of your loved one he may need to take funeral expenses into consideration or other burial procedures based on your cultural or religious heritage. Some of these expenses can be quite significant especially if you have not saved up money to pay for them or possibly even prepaid them. Even if you have taken into consideration the need to pay for these items there are still heightened emotions surrounding the final steps of preparing for your loved one's burial.
In addition to these practical and logistical steps that you must follow through with after the death of a loved one, you will have to make these decisions with some degree of a mental fog towering over you. Certainly, it will be expected for you to have a great degree of emotional turmoil in your life due to their passing. Well, it would be nice to be able to not have to make decisions of any importance for months after the death of your loved one you may not be in a position where you can afford to do so. In my opinion, this is all the more reason to have an experienced family law attorney by your side to assist you through just these types of difficult scenarios.
Family drama also can come with the death of a loved one
Even though you are solely motivated in acting as the executor of a will or the administrator of a loved one a state by doing what is right and following the law as well as the wishes of your loved one, not everyone in your life may be similarly motivated. For instance, your loved one they have had a will that was drafted at the end of their life but you may have people coming out of the woodwork to contest the validity of the will and argue that he or she should be awarded property even though that is not called for in the will. Seeing people with their hands out and only concerned about the property of your loved one can be especially draining for you.
The period immediately after the death of a loved one should be spent the morning in remembering him or her. While certain legal and logistical concerns are unavoidable when we talk about the death of a loved one we also have major issues in many families where the grieving process cannot properly take place because relatives are there to disrupt that or there are financial considerations that must take precedence early and often.
To what extent did your loved one engage in the estate planning process?
Many of the difficulties associated with the death of a person can be avoided if your loved one had participated diligently in the estate planning process. While a probate attorney can assist you after the death of a loved one in handling their state or in probating the will of your spouse or family member, that's team probate attorney can offer you value during the life of your loved one. This is true because he or she can also help you draft a will, create trust, and generally prepare for life after your loved one passes away. This type of forethought and intentionality can assist you in avoiding these types of undesirable outcomes after your loved one passes away.
For example, let's suppose that you and your spouse have young children under the age of 18. If both of you pass away at the same time have you given any thought as to who would act as a caretaker for your children? have you given any thought to whether or not you would like a trust to be set up so that your children can't get access to property only after they reach a certain age? These are all relevant considerations that you should be contemplating during the will drafting process.
On the other hand, you may be over an opinion there you do not need a will because you do not own that much property. Many people put off drafting a will until it is too late. While the laws in Texas that govern the division of property if no wills in place are fairly straightforward these laws do not cover your circumstances if you would like, for example, to have a nonprofit or religious organization inherit but to the property at your death. It is only through having a will that you are true wishes can be made known., your property would be inherited by your family members rather than by the religious or nonprofit organization that may be the truly intended beneficiary of your property upon your death.
Does your attorney practice primarily in probate and estate planning?
If I'm in your shoes and I'm considering hiring a probate and estate planning attorney for your circumstances I would want to do so from the perspective of hiring a lawyer who practices primarily in probate or state planning. For example, if you go to the attorney's website and there is no mention of probate or estate planning anywhere you should think twice before hiring him or her. I see this happen many times where an attorney will be hired only because his or her office is around the corner from where a potential client lives.
Next, you should talk to the attorney in a consultation about their experience handling matters similar to your own. While it is unlikely but here she has handled a situation exactly like yours. It is likely the case that he or she has run into situations similar to yours enough time to be able to give you a good idea about what your case is likely to look like. this gets back to what I was discussing with you earlier in today's blog post. Having a successful experience in a probate case not only means being able to accomplish your goals but also able to avoid making mistakes. There is no better way to avoid making mistakes in a probate or estate planning scenario than two an experienced attorney by her side.
What qualities should you be looking for in an estate planning attorney?
Good attorneys come in all different sorts of shapes and sizes. To say that an attorney must have certain characteristics for you to consider hiring him or her would be a major mistake. Rather, I think that different attorneys R better suited to represent people based on the type of personality you have as well as the type of case and circumstances that you are going through. Otherwise, I think there are many different types of characteristics that a good probate or estate planning attorney should possess before you hire him or her.
For me, I would be looking for an attorney who is willing to tell me the truth about my case one be very willing to share information made. When it comes to my relationship with clients I always tend to want to overshare rather than under share. This way, the client can know what to expect from me when it comes to my level of attention to detail and willingness to communicate openly with him or her. The last thing I want is to be in a position where the client thinks I'm trying to hide something or that I am not being honest with him or her.
The other characteristic that I think is most important when it comes to hiring a probate attorney is that the attorney should have the heart of a teacher. Many attorneys spend very little time explaining the probate or estate planning process and seem to expect people to have an understanding of how the process works from the very beginning. You have a life of your own and are not devoted to understanding every aspect of probate law without first being taught. For that reason, I think it is very important for your attorney to be willing to walk you through the basics of the case so that you can understand what is being done. Ultimately it is your case and not the attorneys. Therefore, it is even more important for you to be able to understand decisions that are being made not simply be pushed into making them by the attorney.
Does the probate attorney have attention to detail?
Another important aspect of hiring an attorney for probate or state planning matters is the level of attention to detail that the attorney possesses. We should be aware of the various processes involved in either type of case and then ask your attorney about their view on each. If it sounds like the attorney has a well-thought-out and solid plan for attacking these issues then you are likely in the right place. However, if it seems like the attorney is not getting enough attention to various aspects of a case or doesn't take it seriously your concerns over various parts of the case then that should leave you feeling a little concerned in my opinion.
However, bear in mind that the attorney cannot do all the work for you in the probate case. Rather, much of the work will fall on your shoulders as far as collecting paperwork and things of that nature. For instance, documents like the will of your loved one financial documents, an inventory and appraisement of your loved ones assets, the names and contact information for relatives as well as a copy of your loved one's death certificate, or all the types of documents that you could help to collect early in the case. The more effort you can put into doing so means that you will likely be better suited to move to the next stage of a case or simply not have to wait as long. The more work the probate attorney and their staff have to put forward to collect this information likely means the more money that you will have to spend, as well.
Can you avoid going through probate?
Despite the belief of most people, it is not necessary for you and your loved one to go through the probate process when he or she passes away. Probate involves distributing and transferring the assets of your loved one following his or her death. You should look to the type of state your loved one has when determining whether or not going through probate will even be necessary. For example, if your loved one has a relatively small estate and is only wanting to leave property to friends and family then you may be able to avoid going through probate.
On the other hand, if your loved one has a large estate a great deal of property and assets as well as debts after their passing then going through probate may be unavoidable. You can lean on the attorney that you hire to determine whether or not going through cross probate will be beneficial or even necessary. If probate is not necessary then the attorney can help you manage the distribution of assets and property beneficiaries and also the pain of any bits of the body of the estate.
What are the typical costs of hiring a probate attorney?
When it comes to hiring a probate attorney you will not struggle to find options here in Southeast Texas. No matter what your needs are or what kind of budget you're operating with you can find an attorney who is reputable and capable of handling your case. The costs associated with hiring a lawyer independent diverse array of factors such as the level of experience of the attorney, the difficulty of your case, or even their physical location here in the city.
It is your job as the client to make educated decisions about an attorney is right for you given your circumstances. You don't have to be an expert in the law to make educated choices about hiring a lawyer. And having a budget in mind when hiring a lawyer is the good first step that you can take into consideration without having any experience or knowledge of probate first state planning law. In my opinion, seeking consultation with annoyer you plan on hiring is the best place to begin when assessing their competency and costs.
Questions about the material contingencies blockers? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed probate and estate planning attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about probate and estate planning law in Texas as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a probate or estate planning case.