The time immediately following the death of a loved one is always difficult for anyone touched by their death. For the person named as the Personal Representative (sometimes called the Executor) in the deceased’s will, the process can be even more difficult, as he or she is responsible for making sure the estate is properly probated. Probate is the process whereby the will is introduced in court to be accepted as a true and accurate legal document that accurately represents the wishes of the deceased. Once the probate process is complete, the estate of the deceased can be distributed and all the claims for and against the estate can be settled. This process is often complicated and nuanced, and if you are named as the Personal Representative, you will want to hire an attorney to assist you in finding your way through it. There are several steps you can take to help better prepare for your first meeting with your probate lawyer.
Gather the relevant documents before the meeting, and take them with you. These documents include items like:
- The death certificate and the last will and testament, if you have copies of them.
- Financial documents, such as bank statements, if you have access to them.
- A list of the assets owned by the deceased. This will include bank accounts, real estate, furniture, vehicles, and financial instruments, such as stocks or bonds.
- A list of names and addresses of those people you know are named in the will. This may help your probate attorney to speed the process along
- A list of questions you have, including the lawyer’s qualifications and experience, basics of the probate process, and any road blocks or challenges you may encounter during the process.
Understand that none of this information or documentation is absolutely necessary before your meeting. If you have been named as the Personal Representative of a will, it is more important to get a meeting with an attorney as quickly as possible rather than waiting until you gather all this information before making an appointment. Your attorney has resources to help you gather this information if it is not easily accessible to you.
We understand that the process of probating a will can seem overwhelming. We have experience helping our clients with all relevant issues, and we know they feel a great sense of relief after meeting with us. Call us today at (320) 299-4249 for a consultation so we can review your case together.