He or she will provide you and/or the executor/executrix with all the necessary guidance to deal with the assets of the estate and to get the estate settled - no matter how large or small the estate is.
One of the first steps will be to obtain a tax identification number, or TIN, for the estate from the IRS. The lawyer will then inform you that a new bank account needs to be opened to hold the assets of the estate. In most circumstances, it makes sense to follow their recommendations as to where the account should be opened.
I found that the estate lawyer is an incredible resource for helping you address innumerable questions and situations.
As it turned out, I was in Tennessee, dealing with an estate in New York, and there was a box of sterling silver and silver-plate cutlery in my friend's estate. The beneficiary had to be asked if she wanted this item; her response was negative. We were instructed to sell the cutlery, and the lawyer was able to recommend a dealer for this process, saving me considerable research to address something of relatively small value.
Taxes will need to be completed for the deceased, as well as for the estate.
If the accountant who handled the taxes prior to the person's death is willing to continue in that capacity, then by all means, continue to use that person or firm. Otherwise, your new best friend - yes, the estate lawyer - will likely be able to make a recommendation for a professional who will meet your needs.
With all the positive experience I've had working with estate lawyers and accountants, I would recommend that you be as proactive as you can.
They deal with multiple clients/estates at the same time and gentle nagging is important to continue the forward momentum to bring the process to a close.
The very first question when you learn of the death of a loved one, is who is in charge of carrying out their final wishes.
Are there any personal papers clarifying their final wishes?
Call immediate family and close friends first!
Are there children or pets that need immediate attention?
Detailed guide to prepare or fulfill final wishes
Where do you start? Physical remains, funeral options, death certificates, memorial services, etc.
Next hurdle - how to handle financial records and accounts
Key reminders on securing residences - owned or rental, apartments or houses - after a loved one's death
What you need to know to protect and eliminate the deceased's digital presence
Don't forget subscriptions, memberships and more
Funny, helpful and special stories that others have shared to help you through the process
For each section, download and personalize a pdf checklist