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What Are Probate Lawyers and Do You Need One?

What are probate attorneys? Photo of Paul Deloughery.

When faced with the complexities of managing a loved one’s estate, you might find yourself asking, “What are probate lawyers and how can they help me?” Probate lawyers are specialized attorneys who guide families through the legal maze of probate, ensuring that your loved one’s wishes are honored and the process is as seamless as possible. In this article, we’ll explore the vital role probate lawyers play, demystify their responsibilities, and explain why having one by your side can make all the difference during such a challenging time.

Having a probate lawyer by your side can provide peace of mind during a challenging time. They can handle complex legal procedures, such as filing the necessary paperwork and representing you in court if disputes arise. Additionally, probate lawyers can assist in minimizing estate taxes and resolving any outstanding debts. Their expertise allows them to expedite the process, saving you time and potential headaches.

While not everyone needs a probate lawyer, consulting with one is highly recommended, especially if you are unfamiliar with probate laws or estate planning. This article will explore the importance of probate lawyers and help you decide if you need one to navigate the intricacies of the probate process. Read on to discover how these legal experts can provide clarity, support, and peace of mind when you need it most.

Understanding the Probate Process

Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property according to a will or the laws of intestacy. The process typically involves validating the will, identifying and appraising assets, paying off debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. Probate can be a complex and time-consuming procedure, often requiring legal expertise to navigate effectively.

What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?

Probate lawyers specialize in guiding individuals through the probate process, offering legal advice and representation to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are carried out smoothly. These attorneys assist in preparing and filing the necessary paperwork, representing clients in court proceedings, resolving disputes among beneficiaries, and handling any tax or debt issues that may arise. A probate lawyer’s role is crucial in simplifying a potentially overwhelming process and ensuring that the estate is settled according to the law.

When Do You Need a Probate Lawyer?

While not everyone may require the services of a probate lawyer, seeking legal counsel is advisable in several scenarios. If the estate is large or complex, if there are disputes among beneficiaries, if the deceased did not leave a will, or if you are unfamiliar with probate laws, a probate lawyer can provide invaluable assistance. Additionally, if you anticipate challenges during the probate process or wish to minimize tax liabilities, enlisting the expertise of a probate lawyer is highly recommended.

Benefits of Hiring a Probate Lawyer

One common question during estate management is, “What are probate lawyers and what can they do to streamline this complex process?” The benefits of hiring a probate lawyer are numerous. These legal professionals have a deep understanding of probate laws and procedures, ensuring that the estate settlement process is carried out efficiently and accurately. By enlisting the services of a probate lawyer, you can minimize the risk of costly errors, expedite the distribution of assets, and navigate complex legal requirements with confidence. Moreover, a probate lawyer can offer emotional support during a challenging time, allowing you to focus on grieving and healing while they handle the legal intricacies.

How to Choose the Right Probate Lawyer for Your Needs

There tend to be two types of probate lawyer: a non-adversarial type and the litigation attorney type. If you have an uncontested probate, the first type might be perfectly fine. However, your case involves petitions, objections, and court hearings, you definitely need a probate litigation attorney.

Selecting the right probate lawyer is crucial to ensuring a smooth and successful probate process. When choosing a probate lawyer, consider factors such as their experience in probate law, reputation, communication style, and fees. It is advisable to schedule initial consultations with multiple probate lawyers to determine who best meets your needs and preferences. Additionally, seek recommendations from trusted sources, review online testimonials, and inquire about the lawyer’s approach to handling probate cases to make an informed decision. Also, Before hiring a probate lawyer, it’s important to know what are probate lawyers and how their expertise can benefit you.

Common Misconceptions About Probate Lawyers

There are several misconceptions surrounding probate lawyers that can deter individuals from seeking their assistance. One common myth is that probate lawyers are only necessary for large estates, while in reality, probate lawyers can provide valuable support regardless of estate size. Another misconception is that probate lawyers are prohibitively expensive, whereas many offer flexible fee structures to accommodate varying budgets. By dispelling these misconceptions, individuals can better understand the benefits of working with a probate lawyer.

How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost?

The cost of hiring a probate lawyer can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the estate, the lawyer’s experience, and the fee structure. Probate lawyers typically charge either an hourly rate or a flat fee for their services. Hourly rates can range from $300 to $450per hour on average, while flat fees may be offered for specific tasks within the probate process. Additionally, some probate lawyers may work on a contingency basis, where they receive a percentage of the estate’s value as payment. It is essential to discuss fees upfront and ensure transparency regarding costs before engaging a probate lawyer. Also see our blog “Who Pays Probate Attorney Fees?

Alternatives to Hiring a Probate Lawyer

While hiring a probate lawyer is often advisable, there are alternatives available for individuals who prefer to handle the probate process independently. One option is to utilize online resources and self-help guides to navigate probate procedures without legal representation. Additionally, some states offer simplified probate procedures for small estates, which may not require the involvement of a probate lawyer. However, it is essential to weigh the benefits of professional legal guidance against the potential challenges of managing probate alone to make an informed decision.


If you’re dealing with an estate after a loved one’s passing, it’s crucial to understand what are probate lawyers and how they can assist you. Probate lawyers play a vital role in guiding individuals through the complexities of the probate process, ensuring that the deceased’s final wishes are honored and estate matters are resolved efficiently. While not everyone may need a probate lawyer, their expertise and support can provide invaluable assistance in navigating legal requirements, resolving disputes, and minimizing tax liabilities. By understanding what are probate lawyers, dispelling common misconceptions, and exploring the benefits of their services, you can make informed decisions regarding whether to enlist legal counsel during the probate process. Remember, having a probate lawyer by your side can offer peace of mind and clarity during a challenging time.

Need a Probate Attorney?

Attorney Paul Deloughery has 25 years of experience handling all kinds of probate and trust administration cases. Many of those cases have involved serious litigation. Though we try to make things as simple and uncomplicated as possible. We’d love to get to know your unique situation and see how we can guide you through it. Give us a call at 602-443-4888. We’re here to help.


Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.