| Read Time: 3 minutes | Probate

After losing a loved one, you probably want to tend to your emotions and spend time with your family. The idea of having to probate your loved one’s estate can stir up a sense of dread. Fortunately, you can hire an adept probate attorney to help you efficiently navigate probate to distribute assets and close your loved one’s estate. If you’re wondering what a probate attorney is, continue reading to learn about the benefits of a probate lawyer. 

What Is a Probate Lawyer?

A probate lawyer works with surviving family members to settle the estate of their deceased family member. While the attorney generally works with the estate executor or administrator—usually a family member or close friend—in some cases, a probate lawyer may serve that role.

What Is The Difference Between a Probate Lawyer and an Estate Lawyer?

An estate lawyer drafts wills, powers of attorney, and other estate documents for a client before the client’s death. After the client passes away, their surviving family members must probate their estate documents to transfer the assets. The surviving family members may hire a probate attorney to help settle their deceased family member’s estate. 

What Is a Probate Lawyer Used For? 

There are a lot of steps and moving parts to probate. An experienced probate lawyer knows the probate process and can help you:

  • Draft and file probate court documents,
  • Find and inventory the estate’s assets,
  • Manage the estate’s finances,
  • Negotiate with the estate’s creditors,
  • Pay income and estate taxes,   
  • Coordinate and oversee property appraisals, and 
  • Transfer the estate’s assets to the correct heirs.  

Working with a probate lawyer is the best way to resolve your loved one’s estate quickly and accurately. 

How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost?

Each probate lawyer will have their own rate. However, most attorneys charge either a flat fee or an hourly rate for probate services. Before leaving a consultation, make sure you understand the cost and legal services included in the cost. 

Flat Fee

Probate lawyers with a lot of experience and familiarity with probate may use a flat fee for their services. These may make things easier for clients because they don’t feel pressured to keep communication as short as possible to avoid higher costs. Lawyers and paralegals also like flat fee billing because they don’t have to track their time. Less administrative work means lawyers and paralegals have more time for their clients. 

You must understand the legal services included if you’re paying a flat fee. Probate cases can become complicated and time-consuming. The initial flat fee may not include services for a contested will or tax issue. Due to the complex nature of these legal issues, many probate attorneys have a different fee schedule for additional matters that may come up. Don’t leave a consultation if you don’t have a full understanding of how the probate lawyer will charge you for their services. 

Hourly Rate

An hourly rate is a common billing approach. If the probate attorney bills by the hour, you should ask about the different hourly rates for lawyers, paralegals, and other legal staff. It’s a good idea to talk about how often the lawyer will send you an invoice and when each payment is due. 

Fee Agreement

If you hire a probate attorney, it’s best practice to get a fee agreement that lists the fees and costs discussed in your consultation. A fee agreement protects the client in the event a probate lawyer tries to change their fees without offering more services. Look for the following items in a fee agreement:

  • Hourly rates for the probate lawyer and paralegals,
  • Probate costs not included in the hourly rates,
  • Total estimated cost or number of hours to probate the estate, and
  • Invoice and payment terms.

If your probate lawyer works on a flat fee basis, the fee agreement should list the flat fee with a detailed description of all legal services included with the fee. The agreement should also disclose costs that aren’t included in the flat fee, such as court filing fees and appraiser fees. 

Who Is Responsible for the Cost of Probate? 

The deceased’s estate will pay the fees and cost of the probate attorney before the remaining assets are distributed to the heirs. Family members are not legally obligated to pay the attorney fees from their personal funds. 

Call Us Today to Learn More

Robbins Estate Law cares about our clients. We’re committed to providing top-quality legal representation to clients during this difficult and confusing time. Our compassionate team of attorneys knows the importance of closing an estate as quickly as possible to let the family continue grieving.

Contact us today to learn how the elite team at Robbins Estate Law can help you.

Author Photo

Kyle Robbins

Kyle Robbins is the founder and sole owner of The Law
Offices of Kyle Robbins. He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law and his B.S. in Food Chemistry and Microbiology from Oklahoma State University.

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