7 Documents You Should Bring With You to Your Consultation for Estate Administration

November 20, 2022
Erin Calpin, Esq.

Once someone has passed on, the decedent’s assets must be distributed to those still living. This process is called estate administration or probate. While one can undertake this process alone, securing legal counsel and assistance with estate administration is an excellent way to speed up the process while ensuring everything is administered correctly.


There are several New Jersey estate administration mistakes that you can make if you don't take the right steps. By ensuring you have the necessary documents in hand when you come for your consultation, you can avoid unnecessary complications and move on with your estate. Here are seven things you should bring to your consultation.

#1 – Family Information

Documents containing full names, ages, and contact information for parents, siblings, children, or other family members and/or friends involved in the Last Will & Testament. Make sure that these documents are not outdated and represent the current state of these family members, as we’ll need to contact them.

#2 – Last Will & Testament

If the deceased person happens to have a valid Last Will & Testament bring it to the consultation.


Some people do not have a Last Will & Testament when they pass, and in these cases, someone will be appointed an administrator of the estate.


An estate can still be administered even if there is no Last Will & Testament; however, it involves a slightly different processes.

#3 – Financial Statements

Your attorney will need any documents related to the deceased person’s financial and banking information.


The most recent banking statement should provide what your attorney needs to get started. Also, bring documents related to the person’s savings, checking, IRA,CD, and credit union accounts.

#4 – Retirement Statements

While retirement documents seem unnecessary if the account designates beneficiaries, your attorney may need to see those documents for estate tax purposes.


So you should bring documents regarding retirement assets so your attorney can determine whether or not this is the case.

#5 – Death Certificate

Your probate lawyer will need a death certificate to complete the probate petition or an application for administration. Obtaining a death certificate can take two to four weeks to receive from the funeral home, so you might not have it at the first consultation. If this is the case, pass the certificate to your lawyer once it has been delivered to you.

#6 – A List of Assets

Your probate lawyer will need a comprehensive list of the deceased person’s assets. This is to inform the court of the assets the decedent owned at their death, and to assist in the valuation of the estate.


This list should contain all assets, property information, deeds, and other relevant documents.

#7 – Any Questions You Might Have

This may sound simple, but write out a list of questions you might have about the estate. Voicing these questions and receiving answers to them early can be beneficial and prevent future confusion.


Estate planning can be a long and sometimes stressful process for some, so always ask any questions you have. There are no “stupid questions”.  In general, if you’re unsure whether an item would be helpful to your attorney, bring it.


Having more information than necessary is always better than leaving things out.

Properly Administer Your New Jersey Estate With BMC Estate Administrators

Administering an estate without professional and legal help can be highly challenging. BMC is here to help ensure the process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. Get in touch with us today to schedule your appointment.


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Borenstein, McConnell & Calpin, P.C. is a Wills & Estate Planning law firm serving Central and Northern New Jersey, as well as New York City. We strive not only to give you a great client experience, but to become your trusted adviser for life. To reach Alec, please send an email to alec@bmcestateplanning.com.

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