If you’ve scheduled a meeting with your probate attorney, you’ve taken the first step in navigating the challenging and confusing probate process. Your probate attorney will assist you with court filings, mediate and resolve conflicts between beneficiaries, and represent you if legal issues arise. Being prepared with the necessary documentation is essential when you first meet with your attorney. Here are 5 items your probate attorney would like for you to bring:
Please bring all relevant paperwork regarding the decedent, including the death certificate. Your attorney will need this to begin probate and determine where to file the case. Other pertinent paperwork to bring includes the deceased’s social security number, contact information for all beneficiaries, income and gift tax returns for the last three years, and business agreement documents, if applicable.
The Will & Trust Documents
The will provides the deceased person’s wishes regarding the distribution of their wealth. Moreover, it names an executor. The executor distributes assets according to the will and manages the estate. Your probate attorney will need these documents to ensure the deceased person’s wishes are met. We recommend trying to find the original documents instead of copies. The probate attorney will also need to review trust documents if there are any, to help manage the trust.
It’s essential to bring all other documentation you have related to the estate. Such documentation includes deeds, titles, and insurance policies. Deed and title documentation provides evidence of ownership of real estate, vehicles, and other property. This documentation is crucial being that the distribution of these assets happens during the probate process.
A List of Assets
We recommend keeping an inventory of all the assets included in the estate. This list will help your attorney keep track of the items mentioned in the will and make certain all assets are retitled into their proper heir’s name. Assets include real estate, cars, bank accounts, investments, retirement plans, and other valuables.
A List of Debts
Debts become the estate’s responsibility. Therefore, they must be paid off before the beneficiaries receive the remaining assets. Debts include the amount still owed to credit cards, home and car loans, medical bills, and other outstanding loans. Your attorney must know the debts to determine the estate’s value and form a plan to pay off the debt.
We recognize that some documents or information might be unobtainable. Accordingly, our probate attorneys will do the best we can with the information you can gather for us. We are here to guide you throughout the entirety of the probate process. Schedule your free consultation with one of Law & Stein’s expert probate attorneys today, and let us guide you through this complicated process.