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What information do you need when meeting with a probate lawyer?

The type of information you might need when meeting with a probate lawyer depends on your own situation and what you want to accomplish. However, if you are meeting with an attorney following the death of someone in your family, there are some common pieces of information that can help the lawyer help you.

First, most lawyers will ask you to complete a form or provide information to a clerk or paralegal so a file can be created. Basic information usually includes your name, the reason you want to see the attorney and your contact information including address, phone number and email address. For a probate matter, the attorney will also ask how you are related to the deceased.

To help the attorney find any wills or other estate documents that might have been filed, you'll have to provide the full name of the deceased and his or her date of birth. If you know the deceased's Social Security number and any former names used, these would be helpful. It would also be helpful to know the cities, counties and states where the deceased lived at various points in his or her life, especially if you don't already have copies of estate documents.

If you do have access to estate documents, the attorney will want to know whether the deceased had a will, trusts or other legal vehicles. You'll also want to supply information about the deceased family, including whether he or she was married, who the spouse was if it isn't you and any children, grandchildren or other family members.

These are just some of the pieces of information that can help an attorney work through probate matters with you. Even if you don't have all of this information, speaking to an attorney can help you start the probate process right.

Source: FindLaw, "Intake Questionnaire: Initial Meeting with a Probate Lawyer," accessed Oct. 30, 2015

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