When an individual requires the services of a probate attorney, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Some people will choose the same attorney who assisted them in drafting a will or structuring a trust. This approach, however, ignores the fact that probate litigation is a different animal than estate planning. Just because a Tennessee attorney handles one does not mean that he or she is skilled at both.
A good probate attorney will make this type of litigation a significant focus within his or her practice. An attorney who focuses primarily on the paperwork side of estate planning may not be best suited to pursue or defend against a probate litigation matter. That said, plenty of attorneys who offer estate planning services are also excellent at probate litigation.
Experience counts in this regard, and local experience counts even more. A courtroom is comprised of multiple professionals who work very closely together in that limited environment. They are all people, with their own senses of humor, levels of tolerance and personal preferences. An attorney who regularly works in that setting will have an understanding of how various judges like to be approached during hearings and which courtroom staff members to ask for scheduling or other favors.
Choosing a local attorney who is experienced in probate litigation can make a world of difference in the eventual outcome of a case. This is an area of estate planning that not all attorneys pursue, and heading into court without being properly prepared is a recipe for disaster. By using the tips outlined above, Tennessee residents can increase their odds of a favorable outcome.
Source: nwitimes.com, "Estate and pre-planning guide: Picking a probate lawyer", March 22, 2016