Atlanta Attorney Representation For Over 40 Years

Estate and Probate - Checklist

1). Contact the funeral director. Be prepared to give the following information for the death certificate:

  • Full name of deceased
  • Date and place of birth
  • Nationality
  • Occupation
  • Social Security number
  • Marital status
  • Full name of parents, siblings, and other survivors of deceased (including mother's maiden name)
  • Full name of previous marriage partner(s)

2). Make funeral arrangements with funeral director:

  • Specify when family members will be available
  • Select casket, Select calling hours
  • Choose cremation, body donation, memorial service, burial service
  • Select transportation (number of cars, limousines)
  • Full expenses may include coffin, flowers, clergy, honorariums, newspaper notices, use of church, clothing, and transportation
  • Also, funeral home space rental, certified death transcripts, opening the grave, cemetery plot, grave marker, cremation, and transportation

3). Contact clergyman:

  • Specify when family will arrive
  • Plan service including hymns and poems
  • Provide biographical information
  • Ask his choice of time for services

4). Contact attorney immediately so he or she can:

  • Locate and probate will
  • Advise you as to what to sign and what not to sign; regarding record deeds to real property
  • Disperse estate assets such as stocks, bonds, savings accounts, business assets
  • Write a will for you or review and update your will
  • Provide applicable legal advice
  • Locate cash to take care of immediate needs
  • Sources of cash include:
    • Cash on hand
    • Savings accounts
    • Checking accounts
    • Money market certificates
    • Life insurance cash value

5). Likely places to search for important papers are:

  • Safety deposit boxes
  • Brief cases
  • Strong boxes
  • Office desk
  • Lockers
  • Safes
  • Locate:
    • Life insurance policies
    • Accidental death and health insurance policies
    • Homeowner insurance policies
    • Bankbooks
    • Notes receivable and notes payable
    • Real estate deeds
    • Security certificates
    • Will
    • Income tax return forms W 2 forms and other records of earnings
    • Marriage certificate
    • Social security number
    • Birth certificates of all family members to prove ages
    • Military discharge papers
    • Veteran's Administration claim number
    • Automobile registration
    • Installment payment books

6). Obtain copies of these papers:

  • Death certificates (need at least 15 copies from funeral director)
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Social security card

7). Contact life insurance agents:

  • File a claim using death certificate or attending physician's statement for proof of death
  • Supply information including policy number(s) and amount(s), full name and address of deceased, deceased's occupation and date last worked, date and place of birth, date, place and cause of death, claimant's name, age, address, and social security number
  • Your settlement options are:
    • Lump sum: you may immediately be paid a lump sum
    • Interest only: principal stays intact, interest paid periodically good temporarily while you decide
  • what to do with the money:
    • Life income or annuity: beneficiary receives stipulated benefit on set dates for the lifetime of the claimant
    • Fixed installments: benefits are paid in agreed amounts over a period of time until the money is used up

8). Contact your nearest Social Security office to apply for spouse and dependent benefits. Bring the following information: