I have never met a law student that left law school thinking, “I want to be a probate attorney!” It just doesn’t happen. Mainly because many other practice areas catch our eye before we even get to that subject in school but also because it just isn’t a “sexy” subject.
I got pulled into probate practice by chance. When I worked for my previous employer, our firm represented investors and banks that owned property where the purchaser/occupant had passed away. Our client wanted possession of their property back and although there were several ways of achieving this, all options included the participation of the probate court.
In one case, we were contacted by a real estate agent who had already found a buyer for a property where the owner had passed away. We were able to get the property released from administration within two months and as a result, the sale was completed. This is why I recommend that every real estate agent make a connection with a good probate attorney. You never know when your next sale will depend upon being able to get the property released from administration so that you do not miss that sale.
One of the reasons that I like this area of the law is because the probate process was developed so that all people could maneuver the probate system in order to administer the estate of a loved one and wrap up their affairs without the help of an attorney. No other practice area is this user-friendly. I find that because it is more user-friendly than other areas, my clients are much more receptive to my advice and guidance. Although probate is user-friendly, I would still recommend retaining an attorney in many cases, including cases were real property and motor vehicles need to be transferred or sold and cases where there are over $500,000 in assets.
After helping investors, real estate agents, and banks get back possession of their property, I continued practicing probate and as it turns out, I like it. I have expanded my probate practice into creating trusts, administering estates, and some estate planning.