Estate PlanningLawSuccession

7 Things to do Before Hiring a Louisiana Succession Attorney

The death of a loved one can be a traumatic experience. You have a lot going through your mind and hiring a Louisiana succession attorney is the last thing you want to think about during the grieving process. Death brings sadness, confusion and paperwork.  

It’s important to have the right people around you during this stage and one of those people should be a Louisiana succession attorney. You will have your hands full with the funeral arrangements, notifying family members and trying to piece your life back together – the last thing you want is for siblings or other members of the family fighting over property during this time period. An experienced Louisiana succession or probate attorney is a great person to have by your side because they can field questions family members or heirs may have and allow you some breathing room.  

Don’t stress over the legal side of death, speak with a Louisiana licensed attorney to help with the legal paperwork that comes with losing a loved one. Keep in mind that if you live out of state, but your loved one lived in Louisiana and had property in Louisiana, you will likely need to seek the advice of a Louisiana attorney.  

Here’s a list of things to do before you sign the contract and hire a Louisiana succession attorney:

Gather Documents

Filing a succession in Louisiana requires a great deal of paperwork. You will need to determine whether your loved one had a will. This could take some time if they didn’t tell anywhere where they kept it. A succession with a will is known as a “testate” succession and one without is “intestate.” This is important as a Louisiana will can alter who gets property.

You will also want to find any insurance policies such as life insurance, bank records, vehicle titles, home mortgage or any other property they may have owned.

You may not know which documents are important, but your lawyer will. Go ahead and put them in your Louisiana succession binder for safekeeping.

Locate Heirs  

Locating heirs can be easy or extremely difficult. Many people move away at a young age and it’s nearly impossible to locate them if they didn’t stay in touch. Heirs will need to be located and notified of the passing of their loved one so that property can be distributed and paperwork signed. Heirs don’t have to return to Louisiana if they moved out of state, but your attorney needs to know where to find them so they can receive paperwork to take to a notary.  

You will want to get phone numbers, email address and home addresses if possible. This will save considerable time and money.

Research Louisiana Succession Attorneys

Researching the best Louisiana succession attorneys is extremely important. A good attorney can make the process seamless and can remove burden of handling the succession yourself. Read Louisiana succession attorney reviews and see what other clients wrote about them.

Keep in mind most people who write reviews are upset or unhappy with a service and may write negative reviews, but you need to weed through the fluff and find the truthful reviews. Also, don’t rely on reviews on the attorney’s website, they will only publish the best reviews to their personal website. Google is your friend when it comes to researching and finding the best Louisiana succession attorneys. 

Another thing to keep in mind about attorney reviews is often the other party will write a nasty review because they lost. A negative review from a defendant could be considered a positive review depending on the situation.

Choose 3 Attorneys to Interview

Your research should uncover at least three Louisiana succession attorneys or law firms that you would be interested in working with. Take these three and find their professional Facebook pages. You can find more reviews there to see what clients who hired them say about their work product.

Call each of them and set an appointment for a free consultation. Make sure your meeting doesn’t cost anything as you are just there to meet with them and discuss terms and to ensure you want to work with them.  

Also keep in mind how quickly the attorneys return your phone call. This could mean they will call you back when you have a question.

Organize Succession Paperwork

You won’t know exactly what paperwork you will need at this stage, so place everything neatly in a binder so your attorney can flip through and see the big picture. It saves time and fees if you are organized and your attorney doesn’t have to wait for you to find paperwork.

Obviously, there will be mail that needs to be collected and paperwork that is yet to be located, but putting everything in a binder saves headache and time.  

We always recommend buying a large binder with dividers so you can organize property, heirs, death certificate and other important documents.

Schedule Consultations with Attorneys

Meet with your top choices for your succession attorney to speak about your legal situation. You will be able to determine quickly if you want to work with them. Meeting with at least three will allow you to make an informed decision about which succession attorney to hire.

Get a price quote from each of them so you can do an apple to apple comparison. Keep in mind – most attorneys won’t quote you for a Louisiana succession over the phone because the details of your case can affect the price drastically.

You may want to meet with more attorneys or less depending on the complexity of your case.

Hire the Best Louisiana Succession Attorney  

Once you have decided on an attorney, you will need to meet again to sign contracts for legal services. Most attorneys require clients to sign a contract that states the type of work involved and the price. Attorneys price their services differently, so you will need to speak with them about payments. Many Louisiana succession attorneys charge a flat rate fee and others charge hourly. Be sure to have them explain to you which one they will be charging because it can make a difference in the amount you end up paying for the succession. Once you sign the contract, your attorney will begin working on your case.  

Stay in Contact with your Attorney 

This can’t be stressed enough: you must stay in contact with your attorney. There will be times when they need to gather more information from you and you must keep your contact information with them current. Many clients disappear and can’t be located once the succession paperwork has begun and your case can get stalled. Call to check in on your case periodically to ensure things are getting completed.  

Keep Succession Paperwork for Your Records 

You will want to store the succession paperwork in a safe place for your records. You never know when you will need to access it again. You can always get a copy from the courthouse, but it may cost money to do so. Home safes are a great place to store important legal documents in case of a natural disaster or home fire.  

Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog post should constitute legal advice. Contact an attorney as this website does not provide legal advice.

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