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What to look for in an estate planning attorney

Some Philadelphia residents require the services of an estate planning attorney in order to create their wills or to structure a trust. Others need to find an attorney to initiate or defend against probate litigation. In order to make the best possible choice, it is important to understand that not all estate planning attorneys make probate litigation a significant part of their practices.

In order to succeed in court, one's attorney must be knowledgeable in both current law and courtroom practices. He or she should be just as skilled at presenting an argument in front of a court as in drafting documents in an office setting. Understanding how cases play out in front of a judge is critical to structuring a plan for success.

It is also important to select an attorney who is active in the courtroom in which one's case will be heard. Attorneys are people, just like the judges, bailiffs and other courtroom staff who keep the legal system running. As such, judges get to know which attorneys conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner and are far more likely to give those individuals some leeway if and when issues arise with their cases.

Choosing a solid probate attorney requires an understanding of how the legal system works in regard to estate planning matters. Finding a good match may take a degree of time and effort, but those inputs can be well-rewarded over the course of time. By choosing a Philadelphia attorney who is familiar with estate planning standards in his or her own community, individuals have a solid chance of having their cases move forward smoothly.

Source:, "Estate and pre-planning guide: Picking a probate lawyer", March 22, 2016

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