Once a family member or friend dies, the administration process of the estate begins. Here are some basic questions that should be answered before going to your attorney's office:
- Provide the date of the will and check to see if there are any codicils to the will.
- What state was the will drafted?
- The names and addresses of executors and trustees.
- Basic information regarding the birth and death of the person who died. The person who died is called the decedent.
- Provide birth and death certificates.
- Review burial and funeral instructions.
- Where did the decedent live? For how long?
- Provide a family tree of all family members.
- Provide all addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, e-mail address for anyone who could possibly have an interest in the estate.
- Information regarding the marriage, including date and place. If the deceased person was divorced, divorce papers and ex-spouse information.
- Any known problems with the will?
- Figure out if the family has any immediate needs.
- Any employees? Find out their names and addresses.
- Does the deceased person have any trusts?
- The executors should make a list of all assets of the deceased person. The key here is to think expansively to include as much documentation as possible. Some important assets include bank accounts, stocks, life insurance, social security, safe-deposit boxes, personal property, real estate.
- The executors should also make a list of all liabilities. This includes credit card debit, mortgages, loans and bills.
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