Dealing with the death of a loved one is emotional turmoil, made worse by having to handle the affairs of the deceased. From an internal family dispute to complicated paperwork, you will have plenty to deal with if you’ve been named the personal representative.
Unless you possess in-depth legal knowledge about probate, it is unwise to settle the deceased’s assets without the assistance of probate solicitors in Portsmouth.
That said, how do you find a lawyer who can provide you with professional guidance that is efficient and cost-effective? Read below for advice on picking the right lawyer, how to identify red flags, and information you should know before committing to a law firm.
Prepare for a higher bill
You will receive a ballpark figure from your lawyer for service fees, so assess your budget and ensure you have more than you have been quoted initially, because there is no guarantee it will not be more.
To prevent you being landed with a bill that is far higher than anticipated, a reputable law firm will ask you to fill out a questionnaire, which helps prospective lawyers to gauge how much work needs to be done for your case.
Ask for personal recommendations
Word of mouth is the best way to go about landing a good probate solicitor, and through information shared by friends or family, you will have a better understanding of how to work with one.
If you do not know anyone who has worked with a probate solicitor before, a quick search will help you find a free list of reputable law firms in your area that specialise in probate law online.
Make a shortlist
Once you have come up with a list of prospective lawyers and law firms, narrow it down further by looking at a number of items.
Education and qualifications: what are their credentials, and how much experience do they have in the field of probate law?
The Law Society: the society allows you to gather information as to whether or not the solicitor in question has a good reputation.
Extra certificates: are they certified specialists? Probate specialists may cost more, but employing one might yield better results.
Meetings with solicitors are imperative
A solicitor may look good on paper, but you will meet them in person before you make your decision.
Trust your instinct during these meetings, and if something does not feel right, move on. Because you will be spending an appreciable amount of this time with this person or firm, you should feel at ease and comfortable with divulging personal information. At the same time, you are spending your valuable money, so you should be made to feel like a priority.
Ask necessary questions
The best way of knowing if a solicitor is the right person to handle your deceased loved one’s affairs is to ask questions, such as enquiring about your role as the executor of the estate.
If you are not satisfied with the answers, then carry on with your search. The last thing you want is someone unqualified and inexperienced to work with you.