Probate and Trust Administration
When does a Probate Estate need to be opened?
Anytime a person dies and has assets in his or her name. If the deceased person properly executed a Last Will and Testament, the property will be distributed pursuant to the instructions in the Will. If the person did not have a Will, a probate estate is still opened, however the default laws of the State of Michigan will determine how the property is distributed.
Who should start the Probate process?
Probating a deceased person’s estate appoints a personal representative (formerly referred to as the “Executor”) who is given the legal authority to commence probate, write checks, pay bills, and manage the assets of the deceased individual. The Last Will and Testament will nominate who the deceased person wanted to act as the Personal Representative. If the deceased person has no Will, then the court will appoint someone to act as the personal representative, typically the first of the following who can so act: surviving spouse, child, grandchild, parent, or sibling. The person to act as Personal Representative should contact my office to schedule a conference. Unless there is a specific reason that necessitates meeting sooner, it is usually best to schedule that conference to occur a week or two after the death of the person in question.
Is probate complicated?
There are certain procedures and documents that need to be filed. Failure to properly administer the estate could result in the Personal Representative being personally liable. I will make it easy for you.
What if the deceased person had a trust? Can I simply distribute the assets to those named in the trust?
No. Michigan Law requires that the Trustee take certain actions. If not administered properly, the Trustee can be personally liable. Once the trust is properly administered, all proper debts and expenses paid, the assets in the trust can be distributed to those listed in the trust. I will make it easy for you!
Who should start the trust administration process?
The trustee named to act after the death of the Settlor (person setting up the trust) should contact me to start the process. I can help you properly complete that process. An attorney is an integral part of properly and efficiently administering the trust.