What is a probate attorney?

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A probate attorney represents the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative handles all matters to wrap up an estate.

Often, a person named to serve as the representative is not familiar with all actions to take or how to accomplish certain tasks. In these cases, the representative hires an attorney to advise, prepare, serve and file all necessary court documents, and to work with the representative to get everything done.

While it’s commonly said that the probate attorney is “the attorney for the estate,” the attorney’s true client is the personal representative. Such an attorney generally cannot represent estate heirs. If a conflict arises, the heirs would hire a separate attorney to represent them.

Why would you need a probate attorney?

The personal representative is legally responsible for accurately and completely administering the estate. In fact, this representative has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate heirs. Breach of that duty could result in personal liability to the representative. As a result, a personal representative often hires a probate attorney when he or she needs or want assistance and guidance carrying out their duties.

How much does a probate attorney cost?

Different attorneys offer different fee structures. I charge an hourly fee for representing clients in probate matters. Because each estate presents a different level of complexity, and because of uncertainty that may arise, there is no one answer to this question. After the initial consultation, I would be able to provide an estimate of the expected cost.