The legal role of the probate lawyer is to admit the decedent’s will to probate, advise the newly appointed executor on their responsibilities and duties, help the executor inventory all of the assets of the decedent’s estate, settle debts and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries named in the will. Of course, numerous legal issues may arise, which complicate this basis process, but that is the essential role of the probate lawyer in the conventional sense.
But there really is more. In many cases, particularly an unexpected death, the probate lawyer must deal with a client who is emotionally devastated. The client may be depressed, panicked or angry or some combination of all of the above, and the lawyer must understand this and know how to respond. The probate process is necessary, but the client may not want to deal with it. The lawyer must be compassionate, responsive and diligent. For example, the client may be more comfortable meeting at home rather than the office. Things have to be done, but how they are done can make all the difference.