Most people can become intimidated the first time they consider consulting with an attorney, especially when the person across the court room is your family. You may not know the criteria to look for to ensure you are hiring an experienced elder law attorney. Always spend time doing your homework, ask for referrals from the Chicago or Illinois Bar Association, check out their website, and ask for a free consultation to ensure you’re a good fit. If things turn ugly in a probate, will, trust, guardianship or estate matter, an experienced will and trust litigation lawyer is a must. Some lawyers have more experience than others in the courtroom, and this experience will be a big asset in your case when they argue for your rights.
The guidance you can get from guardianship lawyers, elder law and probate attorneys can ease the overwhelming tension of a family dispute. Please consider these factors when deciding to retain counsel.
Show me the Money
If there’s the potential for significant amounts of money to change hands, it’s likely that one or both parties will resist settling things out of court. Someone will take the problem before a judge, hoping to maximize their inheritance or monetary compensation and what they feel they deserve – rather than what the drafter of the will or trust intended. In order to ensure your interests are represented and properly communicated according to Illinois law, hire an estate litigation lawyer.
Reading Between the Lines
Has someone disputed a will in which you are entitled to a portion of the estate? Is a power of attorney for health care or property being misused in order to benefit the agent rather than the elderly person? Whatever the case, seek out an elder law lawyer with litigation experience to clarify, defend or refute the interpretation of the documents in question.
Protect YOUR Interests
The minute you learn any other party has retained an estate litigator, or filed anything in Court, you should start looking for a will and trust litigation lawyer yourself. Don’t wait to try and defend yourself. Although you think you may be saving money on legal fees, waiting until the case becomes messy to ask for help may result in the attorney being unable to help you or legal fees mounting more rapidly as drastic measures must be taken. The earlier you hire your own elder law attorney, the more time they will have to properly prepare to defend your case.
Confidence in the Courtroom
Sometimes you just know in your gut that the dispute you’re involved in won’t be resolved easily. In most legal situations, you’ll probably feel a bit overwhelmed standing in front of a judge or working your way through the legal jargon; that’s natural. After all, you didn’t attend years of law school and you don’t have the experience of a practiced will and trust litigation lawyer. Always ensure that the elder law attorney you are hiring has litigation experience in the probate and guardianship courts. Ask if they know the judge that has been assigned to your case, the opposing counsel or if they have argued in both the state and federal courts.
Remember, the only reliable legal advice you can get isn’t through the grapevine or the Internet, but by consulting an attorney yourself.
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