Does It Matter What Kind You Hire?
If you are the loved one of someone who has recently passed away, you most likely already know that there are a lot of legal steps ahead to settle the estate, even if there will be no argument over the estate or if the estate was small. You may even be tempted to handle the estate yourself in the hopes that you will save some of the estate’s money. If your loved one died, you should always try to have legal representation when handling an estate, preferably with a New York estate attorney.
Except for a few rare occasions, any New York barred attorney can appear on any legal issue in the New York Courts. This would include Surrogate’s Court. This means that an attorney that runs a practice that handles mainly criminal cases would officially be allowed to handle an estate matter. However, being allowed to and having it be a good idea are two separate things.
Attorneys tend to focus on a particular area of law. Because of this, they know the other lawyers in their field in their area and are familiar with the procedures required by the judges and clerks in the departments where they usually practice. This is how it usually works for New York estate attorneys.
Unlike most other states, New York’s Surrogate’s Court is a separate system from the rest of the New York courts. Judges and staff and opposing counsel are different from county to county. There are also different rules to be followed in each county, meaning that someone who handles one area of the law in a county, such as family law, may not know everything that surrounds handling an estate case there.
There are other things to consider as well. Estate matters are a complex mix of different types of law that is not always recognized by a layperson or by an attorney who does not usually practice in that area. While looking up the laws surrounding how to probate the estate may not be difficult, there is more involved than that. It is likely that there is real property needs to be sold, meaning that the attorney needs to access to people to sell the house and also be able to handle the closing. The attorney would also need to have to deal with accounting matters, especially when it comes to deferring taxes or executor’s fees, where there isn’t a flat percentage, but rather a different rate depending on the size of the estate. This does not even include having to know the intricacies that exist in estate litigation, such as when a will is being challenged.
While many families would be tempted to use the same attorney that has handled other legal issues for the family, there is no obligation to do so. There is also no obligation to use the same attorney who drafted a will to help settle the estate. No matter what the situation is, however, the wise thing to do is to hire a New York estate attorney soon after the death of your loved one. Call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin today at (212) 233-1233.