Finding out that a loved one has passed can be very difficult. You are going to be dealing with the stress of the death, in addition to having to figure out what to do with all of their possessions. When you are going through this, at some point, you may need to speak with an attorney to begin starting probate.
In an effort to prepare for your meeting with the attorney, there are some things that you should do first.
1. Complete the funeral arrangements. The probate process can take some time, so you should make sure that the funeral is still moving forward. Completing the funeral will give you time to grieve and have a moment with yourself and your loved ones. You are also going to need the death certificate to prove that your loved one is indeed deceased. Funeral Homes can arrange for you to obtain copies of the death certificate.
2. Locate the original Will. When you are meeting with your attorney, they are going to have to prove to the court the validity of the Will. If you have the original Will then your attorney will be able to submit that to the court.
3. Comb through your loved one’s personal papers. There may be certain documents that your loved one has kept around that may be important for the probate. If anything stands out to you, then put it aside so that you can go over that with the attorney.
4. Try not to pay any bills for the deceased. The bills that your loved one has are going to need to be submitted to the court and have to go through the probate. If you see any bills, or are getting calls from collectors, make sure that you inform your attorney.
5. Compile a list of assets. Your attorney is going to need a list of everything that is going to be probated. They are then going to have to submit that to the court. They are also going to need a list of any possible heirs to the estate.
If you have all of the above information before meeting with the attorney, it is going to go a lot smoother. Be sure that if you have any questions as to what you should or should not do, or any questions about the probate itself, then bring them up to your attorney. This is a stressful time for you and your family, so don’t worry if you forget to ask some questions. You can write them down and then arrange a time to speak with your attorney again to address the questions or concerns.