Seeking an attorney to help with your probate matters can sometimes turn out to be more complicated than you wished. But there are some questions you can ask before you sign on for any representation so that you know what to expect and how it will work. Read on for the a few questions you should ask your Florida probate attorney, plus tips to ensure that this process is successful for all involved.
Frequently, family dynamics are complex, but little can prepare you for a probate process that is rife with conflict. When this is the case, you will want to work things out so there are no tensions throughout the legal process. Your choice of probate attorney can affect your experience during this often stressful time.
Need help choosing your lawyer? Ask these questions when you meet with your attorney.
Questions to Ask Your Florida Probate Attorney
Some questions to ask your Florida probate attorney include: Is it difficult to access important probate records? Who is the named executor in the will? What are all of their expenses and duties as they relate to administering my estate? Can they be removed from the case if I want or if there is a dispute? What documentation do I need to provide for them? When would the inventory process take place during administration, and do I have a say in this process?
What Should You Expect to Pay?
Probate fees and court costs vary depending on the location. For example, a straightforward probate usually costs around $3,000. But a contested probate can cost much higher—sometimes up to $150,000 or more. That’s because contested matters often require unforeseen litigation and a prolonged probate process.
How Long Will it take?
The length of time it takes to probate an estate will depend on many factors. Some of the most important ones are the specific assets being settled, the number of heirs, and the complexity of the assets or debts. For uncontested estates or small estates, a single meeting with a probate attorney might be enough. However, a contested estate could require a series of hearings and other legal procedures before settling.
What are your areas of expertise?
Some attorneys have chosen to specialize in specific areas of law. Some are highly skilled in immigration law, while others are well-versed in criminal law, while still others are primarily concerned with real estate closings. When determining whether a probate attorney operates in other areas of law, it is best to ask them (or look at their website) whether they do so. To protect your rights and interests as an heir, beneficiary, or executor, you must seek the counsel and help of a probate attorney who has substantial experience and skill in the subject.
What was your experience with similar cases in the past?
There is probably no better question than this. By asking this question, you will be able to determine whether the attorney you are speaking with has estate-planning experience. You can also determine the attorney’s experience with similar matters by asking this question.
It is very helpful to have an overview of a similar case to be more prepared to face things that you may encounter in the future, even though each case is different and past success is no guarantee of future results.
Without a will, my loved one passed away. Will I need to file a probate case?
Wills or no will, probate takes place. A probate lawyer will have to deal with different types of cases depending on which case they are handling.
● The executor should adhere to a deceased person’s will if the deceased person left one.
● The intestacy laws apply in the absence of a will.
It can be seen that legal counsel simplifies and streamlines the process in both cases.
What is your fee structure?
The attorneys’ fees are not listed on their websites, so you should ask about them before hiring an attorney. Some attorneys charge standard fees while others charge hourly. It is essential to find out the answers in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises and unexpected expenses after the process of probating.
How to Prepare for the Meeting
When meeting with an attorney to consider an estate strategy, take the following steps in advance:
1. The week before the meeting, take inventory of your assets by writing down what you own.
2. Make a list of your debts and liabilities by writing down everything that you owe, including mortgages, credit card bills, any outstanding loans, and other expenses, including taxes.
3. Reflect on your life by thinking about what traditions or events are important to you and write them down.
4. Consider whether you are confused about the process and brainstorm any questions you have remaining.
Get in Touch with an Experienced Florida Probate Attorney Now
Are you in need of a probate attorney in Florida? At Casal & Moreno, we are happy to discuss your situation. Contact us today to set up a meeting.