What Should You Look for in a Probate Attorney?
When a loved one dies, you may be faced with numerous legal steps and procedures that are necessary but intimidating. Probate is a major component of this process, and a qualified probate attorney in Chicago can help you navigate it smoothly and efficiently. However, finding the best probate attorney for your needs can be challenging. To start, you should do a general Google search to find a list of the top probate attorneys in your area. This will give you a good idea of their skill and cost. Once you have a few lawyers in mind, you can then do more detailed research on each individual.
A probate attorney is a certified professional who can walk executors and beneficiaries through the probate process. The process involves validating a will (if there is one), appointing an executor, cataloging all probate assets, paying final taxes and debts, and distributing inheritances according to the terms of the will or local intestate succession laws if there is no will. A probate lawyer can also assist with heirship disputes, estate tax planning, and other legal challenges that may arise during the probate process.
When choosing a probate lawyer, it is important to consider the scope of their practice and how much experience they have. You should also find out whether they primarily engage in probate litigation or if they have another focus. A probate attorney who exclusively deals with probate cases is more specialized and experienced than a litigator who also handles other types of estate law. Additionally, it is a good idea to choose a probate lawyer who is familiar with the judges in your area, as each judge has his or her own unique way of handling probate matters.
Having a strong advocate by your side can be critical when you’re dealing with contested estates and trusts. The success rate of a contested will or guardianship case is dramatically higher with the help of a knowledgeable probate attorney. At Stawicki Law Office, our firm has successfully resolved a number of contested estate, trust, and guardianship disputes.
One way to avoid the need for probate is to transfer your property into a living trust before you die. This allows you to access your assets while you’re alive, and it passes them to your beneficiaries automatically when you die. However, most if not all assets must go through probate, even in the case of joint accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts. If you are unable to do this before you pass away, it is crucial to speak with an experienced attorney early in the process. They will help you ensure that your loved ones receive the benefits they deserve without the need for a lengthy and complicated probate process. They will also help you make arrangements for the care of your minor children and elderly relatives if needed. In addition, they will provide you with expert advice on the ins and outs of estate planning.