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The Documents Needed for a Probate Lawyer

You may need a probate lawyer to draft a will or trust documents, or open an estate in court following the death of a family member.

No matter the circumstances, there are certain documents that a probate attorney requires in order to assist you with these matters.


Needed for a Probate Lawyer


Title to Real Estate

Whether you need to write a will, establish a trust or open an estate in court, you will need to provide your probate lawyer with the title to each piece of real estate that you own. In preparing a will, establishing a trust or probating an estate, dealing with real estate is always a major consideration.

A probate attorney needs a copy of a title to real property because a will, trust agreement or documents in estate proceedings must include a legal description of the real estate. The primary source for that is the title.

Even the slightest mistake in a legal description can result in significant problems. An incorrect legal description could delay the process of dealing with probate matters or, in a worst case scenario, result in protracted litigation.


Records of Financial Accounts

At the heart of most probate cases are financial matters and issues. Therefore, you will need to provide your probate lawyer records with financial accounts, including bank account statements, retirement related documents, and stock and other investment summaries.


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List of Beneficiaries

Provide a list of beneficiaries, particularly if your probate attorney is helping you draft a last will and testament or create a trust.

You will also need to provide written information about who will be the trustee for your trust or the executor of your estate, including the names and contact information of those individuals.


List of Personal Property

Last wills and testaments as well as trusts address issues pertaining to disposal of personal property. The documents provided to your probate lawyer should include a list of personal property and how you want it distributed.

In addition to personal property with a particular monetary value, you also should include on the list those items that have sentimental value.


Last Will and Testament

If you are using a probate lawyer to deal with the estate of a deceased family member, the primary document that you need is the deceased’s last will and testament.

The lawyer must have the original copy of the will because that is what will be filed with the court. Generally, a court will not admit into probate a photocopy of a will.


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