It’s hard to lose a loved one. Harder still, however, is trying to manage probate on your own — especially when you’re still coping with your grief. Hiring an experienced probate attorney to help you through the process is a smart idea.
Once you find the right attorney, what do you need to do to get ready for the first meeting? Here are some suggestions:
- Order multiple copies of the certified death certificate. You’ll eventually need them to transfer ownership of different assets, to close out the deceased’s bank accounts, to file their taxes and more.
- Look for a will and other estate planning documents. If possible, try to find the original documents, not copies, and take them with you. That will help your attorney determine whether probate is necessary and what issues might arise.
- Gather as many other important documents as possible. Look for credit card statements, real estate deeds, vehicle titles, insurance policies, recent tax returns, bank statements and contracts, for a start.
- Find the deceased’s Social Security number. You’ll need to make sure that the agency has notice of their death and that any benefits the deceased may have been receiving are stopped.
- Make an inventory. You shouldn’t try to disburse any of the deceased’s assets, including personal items, until the estate is settled. An inventory can help you keep track of everything and look for items that may be mentioned in the will.
- Get contact information for all the potential heirs. Make a list of their names, addresses and phone numbers (if you can find them), so that they can be easily contacted.
The probate process can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Please continue reviewing our website to learn more about what we can do to help.