How to Select the Right California Probate Lawyer

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Finding the right California probate lawyer for your case can sometimes be a challenge. With hundreds of lawyers to pick from, you might not know where to begin your search. The right fit can depend upon a number of factors — and it’s vital to know what to look for when selecting legal counsel to assist you with obtaining your inheritance.

Here are several questions to consider when selecting the right California probate lawyer:

What is The Lawyer’s Experience?

A lawyer’s skills, knowledge, and experience are crucial when deciding whether to hire them to represent you in your probate case. Probate law can be extremely complex, and the court rules can vary in different locations. It’s important for the process to run smoothly — and an experienced attorney should help to take the burden off your shoulders. Find out about the lawyer’s experience handling probate matters in your jurisdiction and representing clients in cases that are similar to yours.

Does the Lawyer Focus on Probate Matters?

Probate is a specialized area of law with its own rules, processes, and procedures. It’s crucial to have legal counsel by your side who understands the nuances of probate law. Although some attorneys may practice several areas of law and handle probate cases on the side, it’s important to have a California probate lawyer who focuses their practice in this field. A lawyer might be highly accomplished in another practice area, but unless they have a deep understanding of probate law, you could potentially run the risk of costly delays in your probate matter.

Are They a Transactional Probate Lawyer or a Litigation Probate Lawyer?

There are two kinds of probate lawyers and it’s important to understand which type of probate lawyer you need. While some are solely transactional probate lawyers who focus on the administrative side of probate matters, others are litigators. Some probate lawyers do both, but many practice either one or the other. If you simply need to start the probate process, you will want to hire a transactional probate lawyer. However, in the event you anticipate a dispute regarding the probate process, it’s best to seek an attorney who litigates.

Does the Lawyer Communicate Clearly?

Probate matters are often stressful and overwhelming. It’s essential to work with an attorney who you feel comfortable with and who can communicate clearly. When you consult with them, consider whether you feel at ease with them handling your case — and whether they have answered your questions. Make sure you’re retaining a lawyer who listens, addresses your concerns, and is respectful.

What Do Past Clients Say About Their Experience with the Lawyer?

The experiences of the lawyer’s past clients can say a lot about what you could expect when you work with the lawyer. If the lawyer has testimonials on their website, you should review them. If possible, get recommendations from someone you know — if the lawyer was referred to you by a friend or family member, ask them what their experience was like.

What is the Lawyer’s Fee Structure for Cases Like Yours?

California probate lawyers may structure their legal fees in several different ways. Depending on the type of case you have, you might pay the lawyer an hourly fee or a flat rate. For typical probate matters, California has a statute that sets the attorney’s fee based on a percentage of the gross value of the estate. Ask the lawyer what fee structure applies to your matter and what costs might be involved in your case. Even though your lawyer might not be able to provide you with the total amount your probate case may cost, they should be able to provide you with an idea of what you might expect to pay.

Who Will You Be Working with at the Firm?

When you meet with the probate lawyer for a consultation, ask who you will be working with if you choose to retain them. While many probate lawyers work one-on-one with their clients, others may have associates or paralegals at the firm work on various aspects of your case. Be sure you know who you will be communicating with throughout the legal process and how easy it will be to get in touch with your lawyer.

Contact an Experienced California Probate Lawyer

If you are facing a probate issue, it’s critical to have a knowledgeable California probate lawyer who can best advise you and assist you with navigating the legal process. The attorneys at White & Bright, LLP have extensive experience handling a broad scope of estate administration and probate litigation matters in California. Call us at (760) 747-3200 or fill out our online contact us form to schedule a consultation to learn how we can help.