A Greater Houston Business And Civil Litigation Law Firm

Preparing for your first meeting with a probate lawyer

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2024 | Probate

When someone passes away, their estate often goes through a legal process known as probate, a critical part of estate planning that ensures the deceased’s assets are effectively managed and distributed. A court oversees the probate process and involves gathering the deceased’s assets, paying off any debts and taxes and distributing the remaining to heirs and beneficiaries according to their will or, in the absence of a will, the state’s laws of intestacy.  

If you are considering the assistance of a probate attorney, it is likely because you are a designated personal representative in someone’s will or a relative of someone who passed away without a will. Either way, here is a breakdown of what you can put together for your initial meeting with a probate attorney.  

Gather essential documents  

Collect all necessary documents related to the deceased’s estate before you meet with a probate attorney. These may include the original will, trust documents, financial documents, life insurance policies and property deeds. Compiling a detailed list of the deceased’s assets and debts is also critical. Ensure you include everything from real estate, vehicles and other properties to credit card debts, loans and mortgages. These will enable a probate attorney to paint a comprehensive picture of the estate plan, significantly streamlining the legal process.  

Identify heirs and beneficiaries

Identifying potential heirs and beneficiaries before meeting a probate attorney would be wise. These may include family members, friends and organizations mentioned in a will, or those entitled to inherit under state law. Their contact information, readily available upon the initial meeting, can significantly help speed up the probate process.  

Navigating the intricacies of the probate process can be a challenging task, especially as most experts describe it as something you should avoid. However, you do not have to do it alone. Preparing the necessary documents and information before meeting a probate attorney can help create a more efficient process.  

FindLaw Network