• Julie Ann Sombathy

Checklist for Your First Appointment with a Probate Attorney

- If you are short on any of the information or documents as described below, just bring what you have and in your appointment we will refine your list of information and documents to collect as determined by the particulars of your case.
- List out all of the assets about which you have questions;
- How each asset is owned (joint, just in the deceased’s name, in ownership with someone else, beneficiary designations);
- The best estimate of the value of the asset;
- List of all known creditors of the deceased and the amount of the debt;
- If anyone owed the deceased money, bring all information about the debt such as the amount of the debt, current balance due and any written documentation of the debt (like a Promissory Note, Mortgage or a judgment);
- Bring copies of deeds to any property in which the deceased was a “Grantee” or “Buyer,” as well as the latest tax bill or property appraiser’s information for each property;
- If you have any information on income taxes for the previous year and the current year bring it;
- Bring original titles to any cars, boats or other vehicles on which the deceased’s name appears;
- Bring the original Will, Codicil, and/or Trust or Amendments to Trust, if any;
- Bring an original certified copy of the death certificate if it is available; and
- Bring a list of the names and addresses of anyone mentioned in the Will and/or Trust or who you believe has an interest in the estate including anyone disinherited or not mentioned in the Will and/or Trust, all direct descendants of the decedent, including and most importantly, the decedent's child no one has spoken to in 20 years, or the decedent's child who never helped take care of mom or dad but was the first to arrive at the funeral home and ask about the estate. If the decedent did not have a Will and/or Trust it is important that you provide the name and address of all of the decedent's next of kin, even the one everyone else agrees does not deserve recognition.
- Bring the name and date of death of the decedent's spouse, children, parents and siblings if the decedent died without a Will and/or Trust. This requirement is specific to Bay County, Florida as the local rules require the execution of an Affidavit of Heirs in all intestate estates.

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