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Do I Need a Probate Attorney in South Portland?

Probate attorneys may easily cost you thousands of dollars throughout the estate settlement proceeding, however, if you suspect there will be a dispute over assets or you have a complicated estate, it is well worth it. So, if you want to make a will but anticipate that other heirs or beneficiaries will be contesting it when you die, our Maine estate planning attorney can help.

We at Jackson & MacNichol take great pride in passionately helping Maine families with their future plans. We know from experience that an estate plan can help any family member prosper or provide a loved-one with special needs with the resources they need to lead a dignified life. 

Drafting wills or trusts is just part of the relief we bring to our clients. We know that major events in your life could affect the way you want your estate handled after death. To ensure that all of your needs, even the ones you haven’t thought of yet, are met, we work hard to create a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship with each and every client of ours. 

Give Jackson & MacNichol Attorneys at Law a call now and set up an appointment for a free consultation with an estate planning attorney!

Why Do I Need a Probate Attorney in Maine?

We know firsthand how the lack of proper estate planning can cause conflict between families. Probate attorneys are qualified to help with the actual estate planning process too. Here’s a way to approach it analytically:

  • You can actually prepare and file all of the probate forms and paperwork on your own. Some states need a probate law attorney to petition for probate in probate-court, but Maine does not.
  • Hiring a probate attorney will save you time and trouble.
  • A probate attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes in estate taxes and missed deadlines.
  • The bigger, the more complex your estate, the more reasons you need to hire a probate attorney.
  • Though there are apps and tools that can make probate faster and more manageable for people, these do not diminish the value of a probate attorney.

Having a probate attorney does not suggest that using these resources is unnecessary. Indeed, using a tool that allows you to quickly appraise and catalog assets, communicate easily, and go through the process step by step can reduce the amount of hours your attorney works, reducing legal expenses and improving your overall experience.

What are the Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Probate Attorney?

Whether you hire an attorney or not depends on the details of your case and what’s included in the probate estate. To choose the best option for you, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are the estate assets sufficient to cover any outstanding debts?
  • Are there any conflicts among the estate’s listed beneficiaries?
  • Is it possible to distribute the estate without having to involve the probate-court?
  • What’s the size of the estate?
  • Is real estate (such as a home) involved? If yes, are there any estate property disputes?
  • Are there any complicated tax problems involved? Is there a federal estate tax due?

If your case has any of these probate issues, you should get legal help from a probate attorney. Depending on the situation, this could either be a one-time consultation (to understand the legal process better) to full representation.

What Questions to Ask When You Realize that You Do Need a Probate Attorney?

If you do decide that you need a probate attorney in South Portland, there are several pieces of information you need to know beforehand. By asking questions ahead of time, you will ensure that there won’t be any (costly) surprises down the road. Use the list below to choose a South Portland estate attorney who will be a good match for your specific needs.

  • “How many years have you been doing estate planning or probate law?” Of course, the longer the attorney has been in practice, the better they will be at getting the work done efficiently and quickly for you.
  • “Do you have any other areas of law that you practice?” An attorney may be qualified to handle probate cases, yet he or she may regularly practice in a completely different area of law. If they are inexperienced with the nuances of estate law, you can find yourself paying the price, literally as well as metaphorically, since timely and costly delays can arise from their lack of experience.
  • “Have you practiced before the court where my probate will be assigned to?” Judges and counties will have somewhat different probate rules and procedures in place. Hiring a South Portland probate attorney who is acquainted with the preferences of a probate judge can help the process go much more smoothly.
  • “How long is settling of my estate case going to take?” This one can vary a lot. A probate case seldom takes years, yet it has been reported to happen. The longer things take, the higher the probate costs will be. Knowing how long your attorney thinks the process will take can be beneficial (especially if the attorney will be charging you an hourly rate). Don’t forget that unforeseen delays can happen.
  • “Have you already dealt with cases similar to mine?” It’s especially important to know your attorney’s experience if your probate matter is complicated or the estate is large. The most important question you ask might be this.
  • “How much do you charge?” Be sure that you have a clear understanding of the charges. Will they impose a flat fee? A percentage dependent on the value of the estate? Hourly?

The decision of whether to hire a probate lawyer relies on a number of factors. You should think about how comfortable you are with Maine’s state laws are, and how large or extensive your estate is.

There are undoubtedly some terrifying stories about probate court. However, if you are properly protected, you can avoid these situations. Fortunately, Jackson & MacNichol is here to help you with all of your estate planning needs. Are you unsure if a Will or Trust is suitable for you? Give our Maine estate planning attorney a call now to schedule a free consultation and have your concerns addressed!

How Much Does a Probate Law Attorney in Maine Cost?

Since probate attorney fees vary in Maine, it’s difficult to provide an accurate figure. Probate attorneys charge either an hourly fee or a flat rate, and the cost varies depending on the complexity of the estate and the attorney’s experience with probate law.

Let a Probate Attorney Help You with the Probate Process

It is not easy to navigate the probate process. It necessitates familiarity with Maine’s probate laws and probate procedure. If you are an executor of an estate or are otherwise involved in a probate process, you should get legal help from a competent  Maine estate planning attorney. 

We at Jackson & MacNichol provide legal services and advice on probate and estate administration or take over the role of administrator of the estate ourselves. You need an attorney to give you competent legal counsel whether you’re an estate executor, personal representative, trustee, or fiduciary such as an attorney-in-fact or an agent.

If you are presently planning your estate and are unsure who to appoint as a trustee or a personal representative, an estate planning attorney of ours can help you. You can have peace of mind knowing that your property and assets are in the hands of committed and experienced professionals by choosing an institution like a law firm or bank in administering your trust or estate.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with our law office now!