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From Confusion to Clarity: Preparing for Your Probate Attorney Consultation

Probate Prep Made Easy: A Guide for Your First Meeting

Dealing with legal matters can seem like navigating unchartered territory and feel overwhelming, especially when dealing with the death of a loved one. This blog will give you a starting place on how to prepare for your meeting with your probate lawyer and what to bring with you.

After someone passes away and you’re preparing to open a probate administration for them, you will need to collect some information about them, their assets, their creditors, their estate planning documents, and their beneficiaries to properly discuss what needs to be done with your attorney.

With respect to the decedent (the person who passed away), bring a copy of their death certificate (a “short form” death certificate, meaning a death certificate that does not show cause of death). Be prepared to answer questions about their family, for example, whether they were married, had children, had estranged children, etc.

For assets, gather information on any real estate (whether the property is located in Florida or another state), checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), cars, boats, stocks, money market accounts, safe deposit boxes, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, pensions, business interests, etc. Try to gather recent bank or financial statements to the extent possible.

Regarding creditors, you must make a reasonable, diligent search for anyone the decedent owed money to. Look for billing statements, loans, credit cards, mortgages, debts, funeral expenses, car loans, rental leases, child support, spousal support, etc. Do you have personal knowledge of any outstanding debts?

Did the decedent have estate planning documents in place? Did they have a will? Do you have the original copy? Did they make a codicil to their Will? Did they perhaps have a revocable trust? Any amendments to the trust?

Who are their beneficiaries? Did they make estate planning documents naming who they wanted to inherit their property? If not, who are their family members?

Unearthing the Clues: Where to Find the Info Your Probate Attorney Needs

Where should you look for all these things? The decedent’s personal records are the first place to look for information like this. Maybe they had a filing cabinet, a home office, or a desk. Looking through their mail can also be a great place to look for information on assets and creditors.

Get our Free Probate Checklist

Explore our free probate checklist if you’re uncertain where to start with the Florida probate process. This resource offers an initial roadmap for those seeking guidance. Receive our complimentary probate checklist simply by completing the form, and it will promptly arrive in your email inbox.

Taking Charge: Capture Key Details During Your Probate Consultation

Last, you should bring a notepad with you. You’ll discuss many details at this meeting, and taking notes will help you keep track of everything, remember the answers to your questions, and fully understand the next steps.

Talk to Our Probate Attorneys

Our Fort Lauderdale probate lawyers understand the complexities of the legal process. We’ll guide you through every step, ensuring your wishes are followed and your family is protected.

Our experienced probate and estate lawyers handle all aspects of probate efficiently, minimizing burdens on your family. We offer in-person and virtual consultations across South Florida, including Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach County.

Ready to take control? Contact SJF Law Group today. Call us at 954-580-3690 or fill out our convenient contact form. We look forward to helping you navigate probate with confidence.

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