Losing somebody close to you is a hard time for many people. It becomes more difficult when you have to navigate the probate process while grieving.
Many people that go through the probate period have admitted that they develop stress conditions; some even become depressed.
Due to this, many people resort to working with a New York probate lawyer to handle the process on their behalf. The lawyer handles the process for you without attaching any emotions.
Once you get an attorney and schedule the first meeting, you need to be prepared.
Step #1: Have a Copy of the Death Certificate
The first step is to ask for and receive several copies of the death certificate. Make sure the copy that you have is valid and duly signed. These copies are used in planning the probate process in various ways.
Carry a copy along to the first meeting with the probate lawyer.
Step #2: Know if there is An Existing Will
Secondly, determine if the deceased left a written will. When the estate goes through probate, these documents are accessible to the public, and you can get them when you want.
The lawyer will use a copy of the will to determine if the estate needs probate or it doesn’t. If the will has a trust, then probate isn’t necessary.
If the probate process is necessary, New York law requires that a copy of the original needs to be filed with the court during the process. Locating and presenting the copy to the probate attorney helps avoid delays.
Step #3: Identify the Executor
Once you have a written will, you need to identify the executor of the estate. These different roles are listed in the will. Make sure you have the contact of the executor because the probate lawyer needs this information to understand what issues are pending.
Step #4: Collect all the Information
Collect every information you have about assets as well as liabilities of the person that has died. It is helpful to provide information about bank accounts, retirement policies, tax returns, and life insurance policies.
In addition, collect copies of land deeds and mortgages.
Step #5: Collect Information on Beneficiaries
Check out the will and compile a list of the beneficiaries, their phone number, addresses and other details. The probate lawyer might need to contact them during the process to ask for information.
Step #6: Understand Family Resistance
Family drama is typical in any succession process. Even a will that seemed foolproof when you received it might become questioned by the beneficiaries that feel are receiving a raw deal.
Issues with succession start way before the probate when some siblings realize that their parent might favor a particular child.
If you feel there is trouble in paradise, you might be right. It is advisable that you share this information with your lawyer so that he advises you on what to do to reduce friction during the process.
While you might not be able to stop your siblings from contesting the will, understanding what might come up later during the process might help you prepare for the eventuality. Try and collect any additional documents that support what you have in the will.
Step #7: Research, then Research Some More
When you plan to meet with the probate lawyer, you need to have as much information as you can about the lawyer and the process. Some of the information you need to understand about the process is the duration it takes, the requirements for successful completion of the case, and what you can do to expedite it.
You also need to know more about the lawyer. You can get this information from their website or testimonials. The more information you have about the lawyer, the easier the interaction will be.
Step #8: Come Up with Questions for the Lawyer
Because this is the first interaction with the lawyer, you need to ask many questions to get clarification about the process. Additionally, query the experience of the lawyer and their skills in relation to your situation. When you get information about the lawyer and his practice, you will deal with him in confidence.
Handle Your Loved One’s Estate Better
The mere process of handling the demise of your loved one is laborious. The probate process makes it harder for you to handle the issues that crop up with estate planning, the reason why you need a probate lawyer to work with to make sure things go well.