How To Find A Deceased Person's Lawyer (5 Ways)
If you are trying to find out if a deceased person had a last will or testament, you may be looking for their lawyer. This way, you can determine if you are the beneficiary of any of the deceased person’s inheritance.
But how can you find a deceased person’s lawyer?
Finding a deceased person’s lawyer requires some research and detective work. Luckily, public records can help you find the person of interest. You can also contact the deceased's close family members or friends to see if they have any relevant information. Also, you can check with the deceased person’s caregivers if they were living in a long-term care facility.
In any case, the deceased person’s property should be distributed according to their wishes. As such, the best way to determine their last wishes is by speaking to the lawyer and looking over the deceased individual’s will.
Today’s in-depth guide covers:
How to locate a deceased person’s lawyer
Searching the courthouse
Looking through notary public records
Asking family and friends
Finding the deceased person’s will
Checking with the nursing home
How to plan ahead with Trustworthy
How To Locate a Deceased Person's Lawyer
Step #1: Search The Courthouse Records
Your first step is to visit the local county courthouse where the deceased person lived. Look for family law, civil litigation, and criminal court records by party name to see if any records exist under the deceased individual’s name.
If the deceased person ever got sued, sued someone, got arrested, or got divorced, the county courthouse will have a file of the event. Furthermore, you should ask the workers at the courthouse how to locate and view the file.
Once you have the file in your hands, look for the name of any lawyer or law firm listed as the attorney of record for the deceased person.
If you have trouble finding the lawyer’s name, repeat the same process at the federal district courthouse where the deceased person lived. This courthouse contains tax court records, bankruptcy records, and records related to federal criminal and civil charges. Search for files under the deceased person’s name until you find the lawyer’s name.
The next step is to contact the phone numbers listed for the lawyer you found in the court records. If the phone numbers are invalid or unavailable, you can call the state bar association where the lawyer practices and ask to speak with a person in charge of membership records. If the lawyer is still practicing law, the state bar association will have their contact information.
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Step #2: Do A Notary Public Search
If searching the courthouses leaves you empty-handed, the following strategy is to gather all the signed legal documents found among the deceased person’s property. Then, see if any signatures were notarized. You can visit the county assessor’s office where the deceased person owned real property to search for notarized deed records.
Divorce settlement agreements, signatures on deeds, and affidavits are documents that would require notarization. If the deceased person’s signature is notarized, they signed the document before a notary public. So, make sure to copy down the name, location, and commission number of the notary public.
Next, contact the Secretary of State of the state where the notary public authenticated the deceased person’s records. Ask for the contact information of the specific notary public.
Once you have the notary public’s contact information, call or write to them explaining the situation. You should discuss that you want to find the deceased person’s lawyer. Since most notary publics are employed by law firms to help clients who need to sign legal documents, they likely know who the lawyer was.
Step #3: Ask Family and Friends
If you still can’t find the deceased person’s lawyer, you can ask close friends and family. You should ask them if they know any relevant information about locating the lawyer. This includes arrests, lawsuits, legal contracts, and agreements that may have involved the deceased person’s lawyer.
You can also contact people who conducted business with the deceased individual. The business partners may know if the deceased had a lawyer review contracts before signing them. However, the executor of the deceased person’s estate should know who the lawyer is. Therefore, you should get in touch with this individual first.
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Step #4: Find the Deceased Person's Will
The next step is to find the deceased person’s will. If you are a close family member or relative, you may be able to search through the deceased person’s home. However, you can also contact the probate office to see if your fallen friend had a will.
If you find the will, the estate planning lawyer’s name will typically be listed. Therefore, you can find the lawyer’s name and contact them for the necessary information.
Step #5: Check With Any Caregivers
If the deceased person stayed in a nursing home, for example, you can visit the home and ask the staff if they know who the person’s lawyer was.
The nursing home may know who the lawyer was because the lawyer may have signed in while visiting the deceased person to finalize their estate planning documents.
Plan Ahead With Trustworthy
While some court records are available online, most courthouses have a computer terminal for public members to look up court records.
However, to prevent the post-death confusion of locating a deceased person’s lawyer, you can plan ahead and organize all of life’s important information with Trustworthy.
Trustworthy is an innovative digital storage platform that keeps your family’s information secure and organized. In addition to keeping your estate planning documents secure in the cloud, Trustworthy will also help you find estate planning lawyers. This way, you can create the necessary wills, testaments, and living trusts your family needs.
Once you upload your documents to Trustworthy, you can use Trustworthy’s secure collaboration tools to make sure the right people have access to view the information. Then, you can quickly find the lawyer's name if a loved one passes away.
Trustworthy (Click here to try a 2-week free trial) offers the most convenient way of managing your family member’s estate planning documents.
Other Estate Planning Resources
How To Get Into a Deceased Person's Computer (Microsoft & Apple)
What To Do If Insurance Check Is Made Out To A Deceased Person