Your initial consultation is always free at Lewis & Fiore. While we handle a wide range of cases not every legal situation is the right one for our firm. We can only tell you if you should retain our firm by listening to your entire situation.
The lawyer client relationship is just that- a relationship. No lawyer is the best choice for every client. Many times poor relationships between clients and attorneys are a result of poor communication, which can come from a lawyer who is not experienced in estate matters. Our relationships with clients start with a clear understanding of your goals, our opinion on your likelihood of success and a clear understanding on what our services will cost you.
No lawyer can guarantee the result his client wants. We can give you our opinion on how your case is likely to be concluded. Litigation is expensive and can be emotionally debilitating to the clients. Estate litigation in particular usually involved family members suing each other which adds to the stress of litigation. Everyone who goes to court needs to know what they want and what they are willing to accept to settle. Most litigation eventually settles before a determination by the court. Early settlements save all parties money in legal fees and guarantee an agreed determination of the dispute.
Surrogate’s Court is much different from other Courts. The Judge (called the Surrogate) is involved in every proceeding and every settlement. In order to practice effectively in this area clients need to be represented by lawyers who are competent and experienced in Surrogate Court matters. Even a Will that is uncontested by the parties will sometimes be denied probate (court approval) because the Surrogate’s Court has a statutory obligation to review even an uncontested Will. In other courts settlements usually occur outside of the courthouse and require no more than the agreement of the parties with no Judge involvement. We live in an era of specialization. There is no substitute for an experienced lawyer to represent you and guide you through the process of Surrogate’s Court.