A Proven Way to Choose a Probate Attorney

Having the right probate attorney in your corner while going through probate is important. The right attorney should give you confidence and assurance that you can together handle any unexpected situation in the process, should it arise.  The right probate attorney not only will be filing all the necessary paperwork but help counsel and advise you. The right attorney can dramatically lower your stress and help the lower time required by you….. But finding the right attorney is easier said than done. In today’s blog, we will give you important tips to help you find the right probate attorney for you.   

A familiar question for most when first going through the probate is- How do I choose the right Attorney? This is really a great time to be alive, right? With the invention of the internet and smartphones, all of us have all the information we will ever need in our front pocket. But where do you start looking for the right Probate attorney? Do you call the guy on TV? Do you go through the yellow pages or search on google? You can spend hours upon hours researching who to choose. Not all attorneys are equal, no one attorney always fits well with everyone. Everyone’s situation is different and so, you should expect that everyone also places different importance while choosing an attorney. I have gathered some tips I want to share with you to help you choose the right attorney for you and the estate.

  • Ask references for an Attorney- A quick way to start is to ask those around you if they know or have worked with a Probate attorney in the past. If they did, You want to ask how they were introduced and what their overall experience was like. If there is a will, you may want to consider using the attorney that wrote the will for the probate case. This should not guarantee him the position but, it might be an experienced attorney in the area that had a previous relationship with the deceased and or family. I would include this attorney as a possible candidate to later be reviewed. If you or the family know a friend that is a probate attorney or if someone in the family is an attorney I would advise against using them. There are many reasons I could get into but one simple one is you might have a harder time firing the attorney if you have had a close relationship in your personal life prior to the case. 
  • Search for Attorneys online, Probate Court or local BAR– Searching for your probate attorney online is quickly becoming the search of choice. Entering probate attorneys near me in the search bar will bring up millions of search results. But then the question starts again where do I start? Your first few choices might be Ads but does this mean they are the ‘right attorney’? Not likely! This is why I suggest searching for an attorney and their credentials at websites like martindale.com and lawyers.com. My first choice would be your local BAR association.  The Chicago bar search is a non for profit website that can give you results and a list to select from. There is also the Illinois State BAR to search too. I will give you links to these websites in the description section below. If you have a little more time on your hands and are local I would advise you to find out what days of the week probate hearings are ahead down to the county’s courthouse yourself. You can sit in on the hearing and learn the flow of the court. You can also catch attorneys at work, this might be a great way to first get an attorney’s business card. Another option while you are down there is speaking with the county’s probate clerk. This person would likely know familiar faces and highly experienced probate attorneys in the area that they can recommend. 
  • Research your list of Attorneys-  Once you have gathered a list of five or so attorneys you will want to do your research on them. Look into what kind of law they specialize in and their standing with the local BAR association. You will also want to head to their websites to learn more about them. I would suggest reviewing their websites and even reading some of their blog posts. Most attorneys write their own blog posts. You can read the blog posts to see if you like their general character before you contact them via phone. An attorney is to be your probate advisor and partner. You want to choose an attorney you have trust in and holds the highest value. Know the highest value doesn’t mean the highest fees, there is a difference. Start to sort them out by who you feel is easily accessible, that is well recognized and specifically deals with probate in the county that your plan on going through probate in.
  • Interview Attorneys and get Price quotes- The final step will be to visit the attorneys you have narrowed down to. You want to set an appointment with those you are interested in speaking with. Some attorneys might charge for an initial consultation, if the estate can afford it, I would advise on paying the fee to search for the right attorney. This will be more like an interview for you. You are there to ask them questions and to see how you overall feel about the attorney. You should go well prepared for the meeting. Some of the questions you might want to consider asking the attorney is the following.. What are your exact duties as the probate attorney? What are my duties as executor? Will you be dealing with me directly? How accessible are you? How many estate cases have you handled? How do you charge fees and what do you project the cost of the case may be. If you foresee problems with the estate heirs you might want to also ask…Do you have any experience in Probate Litigation?. Once you have met with at least 2 of the attorneys you should let that attorney know you have chosen them and start with an initial meet to start the probate process. If you can’t afford the probate process, contact your local bar for a legal aid office near you.  Or send me an Email.     

I hope the things we reviewed gave you a general process for your search for an attorney. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or comment below. Working in the probate area in the area gives me a special look into a niche like most don’t. If you are having trouble finding a candidate please feel free to contact me. We can talk about your situation and I might be able to suggest a possible candidate.

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