the law office of mark a. criss
Located in Cranberry Township, PA
The information on this website is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.
What We Do
Beginning with the first post-death meeting, we help the personal representative of the decedent to understand and fulfill the duties of an Executor or Administrator, what documents to look for, besides the Will, who to notify of the decedent's passing, what steps to take immediately to safeguard property of the estate, how to begin the probate process, when and how to file an inheritance tax return, and many other matters that are routinely encountered in probate matters.
Estates vary considerably in the complexity of their administration. Some very large estates are easy to handle. Some smaller estates are very difficult to liquidate and distribute. For this reason, many law firms, including ours, have elected to depart from the "percentage-of-the-estate" fee model which was followed almost universally 30 years ago, in favor of a straight hourly fee approach to compensation. If we don't do much, you don't pay much. If we have to devote long hours to the representation, we are paid accordingly. Either way, the client and lawyer are both treated fairly by this approach.
Executor's Right to Choose an Estate Attorney
If a Will exists, the Executor named in the Will is absolutely entitled to select the attorney who will help the Executor in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of that role, regardless of what attorney wrote the Will. You, as Executor, must be able to work conveniently and cooperatively with the attorney assisting you. The prior relationship between the decedent and the writer of the Will does not guarantee a successful collaboration on the handling of the estate, which involves a new attorney-client relationship.