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1stlawyerinfo.com primary objective is to provide you with the support and probate lawyer resources, probate attorney information necessary to handle your legal issues. One of the biggest ways we achieve this goal is by helping you contact a qualified legal professional free probate lawyers information, probate attorneys solutions and counselor near you, who can inform you of your legal rights and options.

Probate attorneys deal with the legal process during which the will is validated; the assets of the deceased are inventoried; and all debts, creditor claims (including applicable lawsuits) and taxes are paid. Then, once it is determined who is entitled by the probate proceedings, the remaining assets that were left in the Will are distributed to the named beneficiaries and heirs.

Probate attorneys and probate lawyers must understand that the probate process is generally overseen by an executor, if there is a will, or by a court, and a court appointed personal representative, if there is no will. Probate can take anywhere from four months to a number of years to be completed, depending on state laws and varying circumstances.

A will is probated in the county and state in which the testator (person who wrote the will) died. If the testator owned any property in another state, another probate proceeding will be started in that state and county. Assets that do not pass directly to a surviving spouse or other heir through a community (joint ownership or joint tenancy) property agreement, right of survivorship, a payable on death (POD) bank account, an "in trust for" account with named beneficiary, other trusts with named beneficiaries, life insurance, retirement accounts [e.g., IRAs, Keoghs, and 401(k)], or annuities are subject to formal probate proceedings. If the decedent dies without a will (intestate), and no beneficiaries are named, the courts will determine the hierarchy of heirs.

Should I hire a probate Probate Lawyer?
Because of the legal complications that may arise in the probate process, many people try to put together their estate plans so as many assets as possible pass directly to their intended heirs. To assure your estate is distributed according to your wishes and to avoid as many legal complications as possible through the probate process, consult with an estate planning or probate lawyer in your area to formulate the best plan for your needs.

If you have legal issues pertaining to the probate process or wish to contest a will, it's wise to retain a probate attorney who is well versed with the laws in your state. Use the search form on this page to find a qualified probate lawyer in your area.

Once you have a list of lawyers, use the following guidelines to do some initial screening and narrow your list down to three or four prospective candidates:

- Look at biographical information, including whatever you can find on Web sites for the lawyers and their law firms. Do they appear to have expertise in the area of probate, trusts and estates, or estate planning? Do they have any information on their Web sites that is helpful to you?
- Use search engines to surf the Web. Do searches under the name of the lawyer and his or her law firm. Can you find any articles, FAQ's or other informational pieces that the lawyer has done that that give you a level of comfort?
- Ask other people if they have heard of the attorneys and what they think about them.
- Contact your state bar association or visit the bar association's Web site to find out if the lawyer is in good standing.
- Is the lawyer certified as a specialist in your state? Bear in mind, however, that not every state certifies specialists in probate matters. If not, look to see if the lawyer specializes in trusts and estates or estate planning.
- Check the membership directory of local, state or national associations. Is the lawyer listed? One example would be the American Association of Estate Planning Attorneys.
- Check out the yellow pages of your telephone directory. Does the lawyer advertise? If so, do you find it compelling? Helpful? Tasteful?
- You will probably want to hire a lawyer with at least a few years of experience. However, experience does not a good lawyer make. Every practicing attorney knows other lawyers that he or she would not hire.
- Unless there are special circumstances, you'll want to hire a lawyer with a local office.
- Before you hire a lawyer, ask for references. You want to talk to people who could comment on the lawyer's skills and trustworthiness. Ask if it is okay to talk to some of the lawyer's representative clients.
- Ask for a copy of a firm brochure and promotional materials. Crosscheck these materials against other sources and references.
- Ask to be provided with a copy of the lawyer's retainer agreement and have it explained to you before decide on retaining the lawyer or the lawyer's law firm. You may end up paying a lot of money to the lawyer you hire, so make sure you understand what you are signing up for.

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