We all have a busy schedule in our lives. Meetings to go to, kids to pick up and of course, our jobs. Caught up in the whirlwind of life, we don’t always have time to prepare for meetings, let alone know how to prepare for meetings that are unfamiliar. If by chance, you are in need of decedent services and are meeting with us at The Probate ProSM, you may not know what you need to do in order to be prepared – and who could blame you? With your busy day, it’s harder to prepare for things that you don’t have the knowledge of. Here are some ways in which you can better prepare yourself when you meet with us at The Probate ProSM.
Bring the Death Certificate
Arguably, one of the most important things to bring to your meeting with an attorney regarding a decedent estate is the death certificate. The death certificate verifies the death of an individual and is mandatory in order to open probate. Amber Atkins, one of our attorneys at The Probate ProSM highlights the significance of the death certificate. “Without the death certificate, we cannot even begin the probate process,” Amber said. “Nor can beneficiaries claim designated assets without the death certificate.”
Have the Will on Hand
When talking about the will, Atkins mentions how having the will is a requirement. “A will is essentially a document that lays out the distribution of the assets,” Atkins said. “If the decedent had a will, it generally provides a roadmap for how they want their assets disposed or distributed that must be followed.” The will sort of says it all.
Providing the original will is crucial to the smooth administration of the estate. A copy of the will can be admitted to the probate court, but not without costly and timely hearings to verify the validity of the copy. Without a will, State statutes will dictate the distribution of assets and the estate.
Keep the Names & Addresses of Immediate Family
When thinking about a decedent, you think of who may stand to benefit from the estate. The first answer should be the immediate family. The names and addresses of immediate family are important to have when meeting with an attorney. These relatives, and any other heirs, must be formally notified of the passing of the decedent. One way or another, the immediate family members will receive copies of all documentation from the probate court. So bring any contact information you have on the decedent’s immediate family.
List the assets owned by decedent
Much like a will, having a list of assets saves a lot of time. With a list of assets, you and the attorney will know what needs to be distributed. That list can also be clarified over time. Amber recommends that you bring any documents that can be verified, such as deeds, car titles or bank statements.
Mention Any Known Liabilities from Creditors
The reason Amber and the rest of our attorneys at The Probate ProSM suggest having a list of known liabilities from creditors is for your benefit. By letting an attorney know what liabilities the decedent had from creditors, they can work on satisfying the liabilities. The attorney will disallow the creditor, meaning they will stop charging the decedent and avoid potentially increasing any debt.
By bringing these things to a meeting with our attorneys at The Probate ProSM, you’re assuring yourself a quick, stress-free process where everyone is on the same page. That alone should satisfy the busy person you are, caught up in the whirlwind of life. If you or someone you know needs decedent estate legal services, contact The Probate ProSM at 1-877-YOUR-FIRM.