When a friend or family member passes away, someone will be named as the executor of that person’s estate.  Because of the length and complexity of the process that follows, it’s usually in everyone’s best interest to hire a skilled Orange County probate lawyer.  There are different kinds of probate lawyers, but most executors find themselves in need of someone to help with the transactional aspects of the probate process.  On the other hand, if there are lawsuits involved regarding the estate, a probate litigator may be a better way to go.

Choosing Your Orange County Probate Lawyer

Once you’ve determined which type of probate lawyer makes the most sense, you’ll find that there are still more choices to make.  Start by looking at lawyers that have considerable experience in probate.  Alongside this, you will also want to consider what other areas of expertise and experience that lawyer has.  If your loved one’s estate consists of a lot of antiques, for example, you’ll want to hire an Orange County probate lawyer who is familiar with getting appraisals for these types of items.

There is a lot of information available online about the different lawyers you want to further consider.  You’ll likely be able to find out about their education, how long they’ve been in practice, and what types of work they typically handle.  Double check the probate lawyer’s standing with the Bar Association, what additional certifications he or she might have, and any organizations that the attorney belongs to.  References are also a great way to get to know what previous clients have thought of the probate lawyer’s skill.

Finally, you may choose to meet with the probate lawyer for a consultation.  Many provide this for free, but not all do, so you’ll want to ask about that when making the appointment.  Pay attention to how the staff treats you, too, as you will probably be dealing with them as much as or more than you will with the actual attorney.  Do they make time for you, or are they too busy?  If your calls aren’t being returned in a reasonable time or you can’t get an appointment, then perhaps that particular Orange County probate lawyer isn’t the best choice for you.

If you happen to have any special needs, be sure to ask about them, too.  For example, you may find yourself in a position where it would be helpful to have a probate lawyer who can practice in both California and another state, or you may feel you’ll be best served by a bi-lingual attorney.

Use all of this information to narrow down your list of potential Orange County probate lawyers, but don’t overlook the importance of your own impressions.  The probate lawyer will be helping during some potentially difficult times, and it makes sense to work with someone you trust and respect.