How to Find a Probate Litigation Attorney in San Diego
When a person with considerable assets dies in Southern California, it’s probable that probate litigation will soon follow. This is generally necessary to confirm that the person actually owned all those properties and assets, that creditors and taxes are fully satisfied, and that there is proper distribution of assets among interested parties. That makes it very important to secure a knowledgeable and competent probate lawyer, so that these crucial tasks can be carried out in a legal and satisfactory manner. Here’s how to go about finding the right probate litigation attorney in Southern California.
Academic and Professional Background
Your probate lawyer’s background is very important in determining whether he/she is the right person to pursue your legal interests in probate court. Having a solid education in the law is vital for a professional to have a depth of understanding about probate issues, and prior experience in probate cases will ensure that your candidate fully understands the California legal requirements associated with wills, estates, assets, and interested parties.
A good thing to look for in this area is that your attorney candidate has specialized in probate litigation, because some probate lawyers are considered transactional probate lawyers, who mainly specialize in the administrative activities involved with executing a will. If you intend to contest a will for example, you will need a probate litigator, not a transactional probate lawyer.
Law Firm Association
While it is possible that a freelance lawyer can still be a very skilled and competent practitioner, it is usually a safer bet to choose someone who is associated with a reputable and respected law firm. Strong law firms routinely find the best legal talent available, as a means for increasing their own reputation and building clientele, so many of the very best lawyers in the business are to be found in these legal firms.
This can be one of the most important points about choosing a good probate litigation lawyer. Assuming that you find several candidates who meet your criteria for background, reputation, skillset, and attitude, you may need some way of differentiating between several good candidates. By contacting clients who have been previously served by an attorney, you can find out how satisfied they were, and whether or not they would recommend that lawyer to anyone else. Someone who has had to work closely with a specific attorney can often provide the best insights into how well that attorney works to achieve your goals and objectives.
Things to Avoid
Along with the guidelines described above, there are a few things to avoid when choosing a good probate lawyer. Firstly, it’s not a good idea to choose a friend or family member to represent you. This might seem like a good idea, but it can end up a lot like borrowing money from a friend – when any difference of opinion arises, you end up losing the friend.
Also, don’t agree to any kind of payment fees unless you’ve had your lawyer fully explain the arrangement to you, and there are no hidden fees involved. And last but certainly not least – don’t try to represent yourself in probate court. Chances are very good that you’ll come out on the short end, and you will have cheated yourself out of assets that you may legally have been entitled to.