When someone dies and has a will, the obvious question is, “What do I do now?”
The best thing to do is to see a lawyer who specializes in estate planning and probate. You will bring to that meeting everything you can find about the deceased’s assets and finances: deed, mortgage papers, bank statements, brokerage statements, pension papers, etc., and, of course, the will, if the deceased had one.
At that meeting, the attorney can tell you what steps to take next. You’ll discuss exactly what needs to be done on the home, bank accounts, life insurance policies, etc. And you may even learn that you don’t need to file a probate with the court!
It turns out that quite often, filing a probate is not necessary. And it also often turns out that all you need is the one meeting with the attorney and then you can handle the rest on your own.
The bottom line is that when a loved one dies, it’s a good idea to meet with an attorney. Even if you decide to proceed on your own, you will know that you have a good roadmap.