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What to do Before You Meet With Your Probate Attorney

Our Idaho Probate attorneys know that losing a loved one is difficult. Probate is the legal process of collecting and managing the assets of a person who has passed away, paying their debts or taxes, and making distributions of their property to others. Grieving with your loss while trying to navigate the process alone is more than most people can cope with. Our lawyers in Idaho can help.

Our team of Probate lawyers in Idaho use the experience they have obtained over decades to advise and assist our clients through every aspect of the process of transferring and distributing the property of a decedent to others in Idaho. Our partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson, and attorneys Nathan Palmer and Dave Bagley create our award winning team of Idaho Attorneys who can help you. Before you seek our help through the process, here are 5 things you can do to prepare meet with us.

1. Death Certificates

First, if it is possible, order and receive eight to ten (8-10) certified copies of the Death Certificate for the individual who passed away. Death Certificates an official documents containing information about the person who passed away such as birth date, resident, cause of death and date of death. Death Certificates are used in planning and carrying out the probate process in many ways such as providing a copy to the Court as well as forwarding copies to account holders and life insurance providers. The information contained in a Death Certificate is required when filing a Petition with the court to start the process. If possible, bring at least one certified copy of the death certificate to your first meeting with your attorney.

2. Estate Planning Documents

Second, find all of the decedent’s important documents. Before the process can be started, it is important to determine whether there is an existing written Last Will and Testament, or written Trust. Finding these original documents and providing them to your attorney will help in the determination of whether probate is required or not. For instance, if there is a Trust, other steps might not be necessary. If it is necessary, Idaho requires that the original Last Will and Testament be attached to the Petition that is filed with the Court during the process. Locating and bringing these to your attorney will avoid delays.

3. Other Important Documents

The third thing you can do to prepare for your meeting with a attorney is to find any other important documents the decedent may have had. For instance, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, investment accounts, bank accounts and written instructions left by the decedent are all documents that your Idaho Probate attorney should review. Bring copies of these documents with you to your meeting with your lawyer. By doing this, your attorney can understand all of the important decisions the decedent made and can advise you about them.

4. A List of Property

The fourth step, if possible, is to collect as much information as you can concerning all the assets and debts of the person who has died. For example, it would be helpful at your first meeting to provide your attorney with a list of any existing life insurance policies, retirement accounts or pensions, bank account statements, and the latest tax return. In addition to these documents, copies of any and all real property deeds or mortgages should be gathered and delivered to your attorney. Further, a list of the monthly bills, debts, tax liabilities, mortgages or other financial obligations of the decedent will help your lawyer understand the decedent’s circumstances. This allows your attorney to properly advise you.

5. A List of Heirs and Beneficiaries

Finally, if you can identify them, bring a written list of the names, addresses, phone numbers, and relationships of all the decedent’s children, relatives, or family members who have survived him. Probate laws in Idaho required that all heirs and beneficiaries be contacted within a short time after the Personal Representative is appointed by the court. Additionally, the petition that is filed to begin the process requires a listing of all such heirs and any beneficiaries that are listed in the decedent’s Last Will and Testament.

Our Idaho Probate attorneys know that meeting with an attorney to begin the process can be stressful and intimidating. However, by preparing all of the documents and information listed above, your first meeting with your attorney should be simple and successful.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

If you have a loved one who recently passed away, or if you have questions about the probate process in Idaho, we can help. We are available to answer your questions and discuss your concerns at an initial consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation with the Racine Olson team of Probate attorneys in Idaho. You can also email us directly at We will answer your Idaho Probate and/or Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate problems.

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