There are a few things to consider before beginning probate. You want to gather as much information as possible before you start so that there are not delays later on.
You will need to know the names and home addresses of all of the decedent’s children. You need this information regardless of whether these people will all be inheriting or not. Everyone’s name gets submitted. You need a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate. You will also need the decedent’s will (if there is one). The initial probate forms have the person applying to administer the estate provide an estimated value of decedent’s assets. At this point, nobody might actually know about everything that decedent owned and they might not be able to find out further information until someone is appointed to administer the estate.
Later on though, there’s a lot more detailed information required. For example, the executor will have to provide bank statements to verify the account values. If you find this information while going through the decedent’s belongings, it’s best to set it aside and save it. One of the more time consuming aspects of the executor’s job is dealing banks and other financial institutions. Sometimes obtaining a statement is not as easy as walking into a bank having the teller click print. With brokerage firms, there is often a lot of additional paperwork that takes significant time to process.
Here’s another consideration…Three months after an executor or administrator is appointed, the estate inventory is due. This is the point where the statements are required to verify values. Once the inventory is filed, the probate court has a month to act on it. The earlier that inventory can be filed, the quicker the estate can move along.
As you can see, it’s important to gather as much information as possible before beginning probate.