Who can I hire to help me do the paperwork for my father's estate?

1 answer | Last updated: May 27, 2015
Leanne asked...

Who can I hire to help me do the paperwork for my father's estate? I have power of attorney and guardianship, but I am swamped with all this paperwork and legal stuff.


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Before giving in to that boggy feeling, take a deep breath and ask yourself whether you really do need to hire another soul for help.

If you're willing to do a bit of brainwork, you can get lots of good guidance from some self-help products out there. One of them, published by Nolo, is The Executor's Guide , which spells out the steps you need to take to get through the probate process. In the interest of full disclosure, I also write and edit books for that publisher, although I did not work on that particular tome. I can attest to knowing folks who got all the information they needed from it, though, and while they sometimes found the process a bit worky, they were easily able to make it through.

Also, if your father's estate is not too complicated, you may find all the help you need from a rather unexpected source: the local probate court. Many such courts have comprehensive self-help centers or even friendly commissioners who will supply helpful checklists and tips to organize the steps and paperwork.

But trust that you know yourself best. And what you might want to do is to simply hand the whole matter over to another person and get it off your own overwhelming List of Things To Do. Ask friends and family members whether they can recommend a local lawyer who is experienced in estate planning. If not, begin your search at the website of your state bar, but be mindful that the lawyers listed usually do not go through any particular vetting process that ensures they are good or reliable. You may need to interview a few people before selecting one who seems like a good fit for your needs.