Probate is a source of many horror stories – or so it might seem given the prevalence of articles, blogs, and other material saying that probate is one of the most terrifying experiences one can have in life. However, most probate proceedings proceed smoothly and without complications. It’s only when disputes arise that problems start and the horror stories are born. But horror stories sell, skewing public perception. It’s not a new issue – it was present for decades, and the 1980s certainly weren’t any different.

Does That Mean There’s No Need for a Probate Lawyer?
It does not. While you do not need to go through probate in cases of small estates (less than $100 thousand and no real estate), formal proceedings are necessary for any estate that doesn’t qualify for that category. This means that a lawyer specializing in these cases is necessary – and ideally, they will be picked well in advance, to ensure the best possible representation of the deceased person’s intentions.

Isn’t Such a Lawyer Only Necessary After a Person Dies?
It is perfectly acceptable to look for a probate lawyer only when they become truly necessary. However, by securing their services in advance, you can ensure that they can familiarize with your situation to a far greater degree than if they had to do so under the pressure of time – especially when faced with opposition in court. Moreover, by working with your case in advance, they will also prepare for any outstanding issues that might arise and advise together with your estate planning lawyer (if they are not the same person) on how to best prepare for probate.

Is Any Lawyer Good for This Purpose?
Ideally, you want the lawyer to be local to your state and familiar with the particulars of its laws. Searching locally also has the benefit of ensuring that any local peculiarities are accounted for – and of course, knowledge and experience in dealing with circuit courts where probate papers are filed is an indispensable asset for anyone dealing with the difficulties related to death and the legal ripples it sends out.

In Summary
Finding a lawyer and ensuring that they will carry you through the probate process is optional – but if you want to clear the legal hurdles without difficulties, it’s an essential investment.

To tackle the challenges of estate planning, probate, and other crucial elements of your legal life, contact Orlowsky and Wilson. We are here to help.