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What is the difference between an estate attorney and a probate attorney

Boulder, CO |
Attorney answers 4


There is no precise definition of attorney specialties so there may be no difference at all. If there is a difference, an estate attorney focuses on planning and paperwork and a probate attorney goes to court.

Usually estate planning involves drafting wills and trusts for people while they are alive. Probate generally involves handling an estate after death or going to court to have a conservator or guardian appointed for an incompetent person. Many attorneys handle all of these issues.

You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.


I would say that there is no practical difference between the two, in most cases. A probate attorney works with probate estates and administration of the same.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


These are terms usually used by the client, not the attorney, to describe what the attorney is working on for that client. An attorney who has expertise in preparing estate planning documents, but who is handling the probate administration for a particular client, might be called a probate attorney by that client, but another client for whom he is handling a lease might be called his real estate attorney. In looking for an attorney, disregard labels, and examine the experience instead.

This comment does not create an attorney-client relationship. The law and its application by the courts is constantly evolving and changing. This discussion is not to be taken as a definitive guide, and should not be relied upon to determine all fact situations. Each set of facts must be examined separately with the current case and statutory law analyzed and applied accordingly.


You are describing the particular work, not the lawyer. The "estate" work usually refers to the drafting of wills, trusts and the like. Probate is the name of the court action for the appointment of a personal representative and the administration of a decedent's estate. Usually a lawyer that practices in this area of law does both.

This general response is not intended to be legal advice because I don't have all the facts. The particular facts in each instance will change the recommendation significantly. Any statements made in your posting on Avvo are not protected by the attorney-client privilege because they are shared with third parties. I require a written contract for legal services, so an attorney-client relationship may not be presumed merely by my response to an Avvo posting.

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