Essential Documents for Probate

Probate, the legal process of administering an estate after someone passes away, often involves a meticulous review of documents to ensure a smooth and orderly settlement. When you hire an experienced estate planning attorney in Florida we take all of the guesswork out of your essential document gathering process. You can trust the Estate Planning Attorneys at the Schoonover Law Firm to work with you and your family so you are prepared for your probate journey.

The documents that you need for probate include the last will and testament, a revocable living trust, the death certificate, any life insurance policies, financial statements, real estate deeds, business ownership documentation, tax returns, creditor information, family law documents, and an inventory of assets. Below we go into more detail on each:

1. Last Will and Testament

A cornerstone of probate, the Last Will and Testament outlines the decedent’s wishes regarding the distribution of assets, appointment of an executor, and guardianship if applicable. As an experienced probate attorney in Florida, Yanitza Schoonover of the Schoonover Law Firm knows the importance of having a clear and legally valid will to guide the probate process. Do you need help creating your will? Head over to our trust and estates page to learn more about our estate planning services in Florida.

2. Revocable Living Trust

For individuals who opt for trust-based estate planning, a Revocable Living Trust serves as a foundational document. We highlight how assets placed in the trust can bypass probate, offering efficiency and privacy in the distribution process.

3. Death Certificate

An official document issued by the government, the death certificate is a critical piece of paperwork for probate. We underscore the need for multiple certified copies, as they are often required for various legal and financial transactions.

4. Life Insurance Policies

If the decedent had life insurance, the policies become vital during probate. We advise beneficiaries to locate and submit these policies promptly, as they can significantly impact the financial aspects of the estate.

5. Financial Account Statements

Comprehensive records of the decedent’s financial accounts, including bank statements, investment accounts, and retirement accounts, are crucial for probate. We emphasize the need for a thorough review to ensure no assets are overlooked.

6. Real Estate Deeds

Property is a common component of estates, and the deeds to real estate holdings are essential probate documents. We guide clients on the importance of accurate property valuations and proper documentation for real estate assets.

7. Business Ownership Documents

If the decedent owned a business, relevant ownership documents, partnership agreements, or operating agreements become crucial during probate. We navigate the complexities of business-related probate, ensuring a smooth transition of ownership.

8. Tax Returns

Both state and federal tax returns provide valuable information about the decedent’s financial affairs. We stress the importance of reviewing past tax returns to identify any outstanding tax liabilities or potential deductions.

9. Creditor Information

A comprehensive list of the decedent’s creditors is vital for probate. We advise on the proper notification process, ensuring that all legitimate debts are addressed during the probate proceedings.

10. Family Law Documents

In cases where family law matters are relevant, such as divorce decrees or prenuptial agreements, these documents play a role in probate. We provide guidance on addressing family-related complexities during probate.

11. Inventory of Assets

We emphasize the importance of creating a comprehensive inventory of the decedent’s assets. This document helps streamline the probate process by providing a clear overview of the estate’s holdings.


Estate Planning Attorneys at the Schoonover Law Firm bring a wealth of experience to clients, guiding them through the compilation and submission of essential probate documents. We answer the question “What documents will I need for probate?” and have our clients completely propared for their proceedings, facilitating an efficient and legally sound probate process.

Probate demands meticulous attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the necessary documents. Our expertise in estate planning and probate law ensures that individuals and families navigate the complexities of probate with confidence, armed with the essential documents required for a seamless settlement.