Choosing a Good Probate Lawyer

When a loved one passes on, you may have to hire a probate lawyer to help you deal with the estate of the deceased. Generally, probate lawyers can be transactional (those who take care of the administrative aspect of probates) or litigators (those who represent clients involved in probate lawsuits). In some cases, a lawyer will be both, but most will focus on one over the other.

Choose a transactional probate lawyer if your loved one has just died and you want to get the probate process going. Lawyers who are experts in trusts and estate planning are also usually pros at transactional probate issues. However, if your plan is to dispute the will, if you don't like the executor or the present lawyer's approach, or if you're preparing for another legal battle concerning the estate, then you clearly need a litigator.

In any case, be sure to hire a lawyer who handles probate cases on a regular basis, but is also knowledgeable  about other areas. For instance, if your deceased loved one had substantial real estate holdings, the attorney should also be an expert in real property law. Learn more about lawyers at .

After creating a shortlist of prospective lawyers, consider the following as you make a choice

Basic Information

You need to know where the lawyer took his undergrad course, where he studied law, how many years he has been practicing as a lawyer, and very importantly, whether he is an expert in probates, trusts and estates, and estate planning.

Online Information

Visit the lawyer's website and explore the information written about him. What does it tell you about the attorney's legal experience or philosophies? As well, read reviews by former clients on reputable sites like Angie's List or Yelp.

Client References

Make it a point to ask your prospective lawyer for a list of former clients who are willing to be contacted. Do call these people and ask them for feedback on the attorney's skills and reliability.

Professional Status

Visit your state bar association's website to check if the attorney you're considering is in good standing.


Find out if the lawyer has a specialist certification in your state. Not all states state certify specialists in probates though, but in such a case, find out if the attorney is a specialist in trusts and estates.

Professional Associations

A lawyer who is a member of any local, state or national probate lawyer association is not automatically right for you. But it means he is well connected within the legal community, which will probably work for you.

Special Concerns

Hire a probate attorney who is capable of meeting your most unique needs. For instance, you might require a lawyer who can speak a language other than English, or someone whose practice is not restricted to one state, click here !


Finally, request for a copy of the retainer agreement and let the attorney discuss it in full detail. The idea is to understand how payment works before giving your commitment to the lawyer. Click here !