E203 Why You Need an Experienced Probate Lawyer

E203 Why You Need an Experienced Probate Lawyer


Linda spent six months working with a general lawyer (meaning someone who practiced personal injury, litigation, and a dash of probate on the side). There was not much progress in those six months, so Linda became frustrated and transferred the case to us. Sadly, we had to basically start from scratch, because the general lawyer did essentially nothing.

What causes probate delays? Bad lawyers

What causes probate delays?

In Linda’s situation, six months went by and it was as if nothing happened in her case. One of the reasons for the delayed probate was because the general lawyer did not know what preliminary Letters Testamentary were. An experienced probate lawyer would have noticed right away that Linda had a complicated probate and would have immediately filed for preliminary Letters Testamentary. If this had been filed immediately, Linda could’ve started “executor-ing” months ago.

Another reason probate can be delayed is drafting the Petition wrong. In Linda’s case, the general lawyer didn’t understand which family members must be notified, and therefore hadn’t even begun collecting their contact information.

Lastly, probate can be delayed because a general lawyer might not realize that the Will isn’t properly witnessed. (As a side note, this is a good reason to find an experienced attorney to draft your Will). Getting the correct witnessing on a decedent’s Will takes a lot of time, including tracking down the witnesses and having them sign affidavits. An experienced probate lawyer would notice the incorrect witnessing and get started on the correction process immediately.

As with any practice, if a lawyer does not have much experience in a certain area of law, he or she will probably miss important details and cause delays.

When a lawyer gives bad advice

When a lawyer gives bad advice

In Linda’s situation, her deceased relative owned an income-producing property, and the general lawyer told Linda not to collect rent anymore from the tenants! This led to non-payment and problems with the tenants, which will cost the estate more money to work out. Instead of listing the house on the market during the summer, this lawyer’s bad advice means that Linda now must winterize the house. With proper legal advice, the house could have been sold and done with before the cold. In summary, bad legal advice causes more stress and aggravation for the client.

How can you avoid all this? Shop around: Compare lawyers, call their office, and visit their websites. Make sure you’re working with an experienced probate lawyer from the beginning.

Request your free consultation

Sign-up for your free consultation using the form above, and I’ll be happy to email you a free chapter from Anthony’s best-selling bookHow Probate Works.”

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E191 3 Ways to Start Probate With No Upfront Fees

E191 3 Ways to Start Probate With No Upfront Fees


If you’ve done your research, you know that a good probate lawyer is not cheap. So how can you start your probate case even if you can’t pay now?

How much are probate attorney fees?

Lawyer fees for the simplest probate case start at $3,000. But probate is naturally messy, since is involves family, money, death, and high emotions.

So probate fees are usually more, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars!

source: https-::www.ft.com:content:14ea8e2a-0e47-11e7-a88c-50ba212dce4d

When to probate fees have to be paid?

Generally, lawyers require an upfront payment, or retainer, before starting work on your case. The upfront payment is usually a few thousand dollars, depending on the estimated total fees.

Many folks, understandably, just don’t have that money readily available, and ask “can probate fees be paid from the estate,” at the end?

Yes, but only under certain circumstance. Why? Because estates can be unpredictable, with many twists and turns. While you may feel certain that there’ll be plenty of funds to cover the lawyer fees, we’ve often seen:

  • Unexpected mortgages or debts
  • Unknown huge taxes due
  • Assets aren’t worth what you expected
  • Assets had a named beneficiary, and therefore not part of the estate

What to do if you can’t afford probate fees?

If you don’t have the cash on-hand to pay a lawyer’s retainer, here are some of your options to start your probate case now.

Deferred lawyer fee

Work with a lawyer who will accept a deferred fee (paid at the end, from the estate). If you’re able to find a lawyer to work with no upfront payment, expect some conditions.

For example, our office usually only accept deferred fee cases if you’ve also asked me to serve as your professional executor for the estate.

Contingent lawyer fee

Contingent fees are the ultimate “no win, no pay” arrangement. If your lawyer in unable to get your inheritance for you, then you don’t owe any fees. He only gets paid if he succeeds in getting your inheritance.

As you might expect, the trade-off is the fee will be higher than if you paid upfront: usually 1/3 of your recovered inheritance. But if you don’t have the cash to start your case otherwise, you’ll be glad this option even exists.

Contingent fee probate is limited to certain types of cases, such as:

  • Will contests
  • Proving kinship
  • Unknown assets

Request your free consultation

Sign-up for your free consultation using the form above, and I’ll be happy to email you a free chapter from Anthony’s best-selling bookHow Probate Works.”

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E180 Contingent Fee Probate

E180 Contingent Fee Probate


What do you do if you need a probate lawyer, but you don’t have the money now? Let’s talk about contingent fee probate.

  1. What are contingent fees?
  2. Some limitations
  3. Will contests
  4. Kinship
  5. Uncertain assets

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