Preparing for Your Initial Meeting with a West Palm Beach Probate Attorney
Preparing for your initial meeting with a West Palm Beach probate attorney is important. This is a challenging time for everyone involved. As the personal representative, there is added pressure to deal with the decedent’s will and make sure the probate administration runs smoothly. Hiring a West Palm Beach probate attorney is an important step. Make the most of your meeting by being prepared with a list of questions and relevant documentation.
Important Documents to Bring if Possible
Do you have a copy of the death certificate already? If possible, you will want to bring a copy of that and the decedent’s last will and testament. Try to gather copies of financial documents as well, like bank statements. Start compiling a list of the decedent’s assets — bank accounts, furniture, vehicles, real estate holdings, stocks, insurance policies, trust documents, etc.
If you already know the addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for those parties named in the will, write that information down. Having the contact information can speed things along for the probate lawyer.
While all this information is helpful, it’s not absolutely required for your initial meeting. Don’t stress yourself out more or delay contacting an attorney until you’ve tracked everything down. Some of this information you may not even have full access to until your official appointment as the estate’s personal representative.
Questions to Ask During Your Initial Probate Meeting
One piece of information that you should bring to the meeting is a list of questions. It’s not uncommon to get nervous and overwhelmed while you’re sitting in the law office, and you wind up forgetting everything you needed to know. Don’t bring an exhaustive list of questions with the expectation that you will get to ask them all. Your time is limited, so focus on the ones that are most important.
Some of the questions we suggest you ask when meeting with a Florida probate attorney for the first time include:
- What types of cases do you primarily handle?
- What is your experience with probate cases — how many years have you been a probate lawyer?
- Will you be the attorney primarily handling the probate, or will I primarily be dealing with a paralegal?
- How does your billing work? Do you bill by the hour or on a flat fee schedule?
- Do you offer payment plans?
- How long do you anticipate the process to take?
- What is your policy on returning phone calls and/or emails? Do you return client requests for contact within a day? Two days?
- Are there any issues you anticipate that may arise during probate?
Contact a West Palm Beach Probate Lawyer Today
Completing a probate administration can sometimes be complicated, especially when the decedent had a large estate. Being appointed as a personal representative is a serious commitment. There may be a lot of work that you need to complete before the estate can be distributed and wrapped up. The chance of making a mistake and opening yourself up to liability is very possible. This is why you shouldn’t attempt a probate on your own.
If you have been appointed as a personal representative for a Florida estate, contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation.