The first step in probating a person’s estate is to locate all of the critical estate planning documents and papers. The estate planning documents might include a will, burial or memorial instructions, and details about a revocable living trust. These documents might or might not be stored together.
The important papers belonging to the decedent will include information about the assets they owned, including car and boat titles, life insurance policies, corporate records, bond and stock certificates, brokerage and bank statements, and deeds to real estate.
Other information that needs to be gathered from the decedent’s paperwork are those details associated with their debts, like credit card bills, medical bills, utility bills, the funeral bill, mortgages, and more. Everything that belonged to the decedent that goes into their probate estate should be cataloged, as should all debts associated with the probate estate.
If you have recently been appointed in the role of personal representative, you may have questions about the process. It can be hard to pull together all of the details and find the most relevant information if your loved one was not organized with their estate planning.
If you are currently drafting your own estate planning strategy and need more information about how to name a personal representative and how to structure things so it is easy for them to step in when you pass away, now is a good opportunity to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer in Pasadena, CA. We’ll work with you to craft a comprehensive estate plan that helps you consider issues like a power of attorney while you’re still alive and a long-range plan for passing on the assets you care about in a structured way.