The purpose of probate law is to administer a decedent’s estate, with the objective of resolving claims and properly distributing assets. Probate law is complex and retaining an experienced Illinois probate attorney to assist you with conflicts increases your chance of successful resolution. Probate lawyers handle a variety of issues related to inheritance and property of deceased individuals. They deal with the legal process of validation of wills, the organization of the assets of the deceased, and ensure all the debts and taxes of the deceased are paid.
There is no one firm that is best for every situation. Instead we think you need to consider the unique facts of your case. We have several guidelines and characteristics we look for in Illinois probate attorneys before we recommend them to you.
We think any lawyer you hire should have at least 7 to 10 years of probate experience. Most of the attorneys we suggest have been licensed to practice law for over 20 years. That doesn’t mean that a younger attorney couldn’t successfully do the job. Rather we believe that a more seasoned lawyer will have seen every possible issue that could come up in your case. The last thing you want to do is hire a lawyer who gets surprised because some issue comes up that they have never handled before.
In addition to regularly handling probate matters, the attorneys we recommend also know enough about other related legal fields. Probate cases often overlap other areas, such as real estate, taxes, finance, and estate planning. An attorney with experience and knowledge of real estate transactions, tax liabilities and laws, and estate planning has the additional skills needed to craft effective case strategies. For example, if the decedent had extensive real estate holdings, the lawyer should also know something about real property law.
A good attorney, no matter what area of law he or she focuses in, treats their client with the utmost respect and courtesy. Your probate attorney should consider the best needs of the client when making any decision or recommendation. That is why we recommend attorneys that communicate well with their clients.
With probate, especially if you are dealing with a contested will, we highly recommend that the attorney you hire regularly appears in the court where the case will be heard. This is harder to provide downstate, but for Cook County probate cases the attorneys will typically be in Chicago because that is the only location for hearings in the area. If the attorney you are thinking about hiring is in the suburbs on a Cook County case, it’s a sign that they might not do a ton of this work. If they did they’d be commuting every day which would disrupt their practice.
Above all, any attorney you hire should treat you with respect, answer your questions, provide monthly billing statements and work to meet your goals in a timely fashion. Some law firms are great on handling the case, but if they don’t provide customer service the client won’t be happy. Your choices are usually not limited so you can and should demand good service.
We often get calls from people who want the “best probate lawyer” in Illinois. In reality, there is no such thing as the “best” lawyer in Illinois, however there is such thing as the best lawyer in Illinois for your situation. The probate process in Illinois can be complex and confusing. If you have any questions or would like a referral to a qualified and experienced Illinois probate attorney, please contact us. It’s always free and confidential.