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How do I Become a Probate Attorney?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 25 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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When someone dies, a probate attorney often is called in to help sort out the deceased individual's will. If you want to become a probate attorney, you will have to become an expert in estates and wills. In addition, you will have to be an excellent researcher with a fine attention to detail. Wills often are confusing, contradictory and disputed, so you will be responsible for untangling these legal knots.

The first step needed to become a probate attorney is attending law school. You will need a bachelor's degree before applying to law schools. After you have enrolled in a program, take as many contract law and probate courses as possible to sharpen your skills in reading and interpreting wills. After you have graduated from law school, you will have to take licensing exam in order to legally practice law.

To become a probate attorney, you will need to be strong in real estate law, trusts and wills. You will have to know your country's laws about transferring property and assets to spouses, children or relatives when a will is unclear. Two great ways to improve this understanding with real-world experience are to acquire an internship with a probate lawyer in law school or to get an entry-level attorney job with a probate firm after you have graduated from law school.

You will need to work on several essential skills if you want to become a probate attorney. Attention to detail is important, because you frequently will be reading wills to determine how an estate should be divided. Similarly, your researching skills will need to be excellent in order to look at prior cases or obscure laws when presented with a problem in the will. These situations often are emotionally charged for the families involved, so your communication skills must be crystal clear in order to describe the deceased person's wishes.

These skills will help you perform the day-to-day duties you must master in order to become a probate attorney. Your biggest job will be to read and interpret a will's meaning. Often these documents are unclear or have been amended so many times over the years it is not immediately clear what the deceased intended. Your skills and education will give you the ability to handle estates legal and distribute assets appropriately. Also, you frequently will settle disputes between relatives or between debt collectors in order to close an estate.

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