Probate


Probate in Michigan is a legal process that entails reviewing a deceased person’s last will to determine if it is valid and authentic. It also refers to the administration of a deceased person’s estate, including asset location, inventorying and appraising the deceased person’s property, and paying any liabilities on the person’s estate. The court-supervised process also entails paying taxes owed in full and distributing their assets as provided in their will.



When is probate necessary?


Probate in Michigan is necessary in involving the legal transfer of assets to the rightful beneficiaries, even if there is a will in place. The process supervises the distribution of assets and titles to beneficiaries. Probate is relatively easier when there is a will. When a testator dies, the executor takes the will to the probate court for authentication. The court then validates the will and authorizes the executor to act on behalf of the deceased. When a person passes away without a will, he or she is said to have died intestate. The probate process when there is no will is more complicated. First, the court will appoint an administrator to oversee the deceased’s estate. The courts give the administrator the legal power to pay off the outstanding debts and locate the legal beneficiaries of the deceased. Then, the court will be involved in determining the assets that should be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries. Probate is much helpful in averting disputes in situations where there’s no will.

Probate in Lansing, Michigan tends to be a scary and intimidating process, especially when family disputes are involved. In some cases, probate can drag on in court for years, especially where estates with unusual assets and other complexities are involved. While probate may be difficult to avoid in some instances, a lengthy probate process is not always necessary. You can avoid probate by planning through a comprehensive and updated estate plan. But if probate in Michigan is required for your circumstances, it’s best to hire a Lansing, Michigan probate lawyer so that the process is completed as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. 



How is probate started in Michigan?


After an estate-holder dies, the executor starts the process by filing papers in the probate court. The executor proves the authenticity of the will before the court and presents lists of the deceased’s property, debts, and beneficiaries. If there’s no will, a relative of the deceased, a beneficiary, or a creditor can initiate probate. The executor is chosen by the deceased estate-holder and specified in the will. Typically, it will be a legal professional, a family member, or a close friend. If the executor is not able to serve for some reason, any interested person can petition the probate court to be the administrator of the estate. According to Michigan laws, an executor is paid according to the compensation schedule. This means they are paid a percentage of the assets of the deceased’s estate.



Personal Liability


According to Michigan’s probate code, an executor can be held personally liable for losses to the estate. Executors are required to carry out the responsibilities outlined in a will under Michigan’s probate rules and regulations. Also, they must file the necessary court documents within specified deadlines. If an executor violates the Michigan probate code, they could be held personally liable.



Is probate necessary if the decedent held a trust?


In most cases, probate is not necessary if the deceased held their assets in a trust. The transfer of assets held in a trust can be carried out with the assistance of a lawyer without the need for court involvement. All that is needed is completing some paperwork and distributing the assets to the rightful beneficiaries. However, issues could arise in circumstances where the estate-holder did not update the trust to include assets acquired later on. For this reason, it’s crucial to have an estate planning attorney review your plan to ensure everything is up to date. At Leydorf Law Firm, PLLC, you can count on us to develop a comprehensive estate plan that will secure the financial future of your beneficiaries.



What assets are subject to probate?


The assets that are subject to probate upon the death of the estate-holder include; sole ownership property, investment property with partners, non-titled property, and inheritance. There are certain assets that do not have to go through probate, such as bank accounts with a “payable upon death” life insurance, and retirement accounts. Property listed as a “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship,” and items placed in a living trust do not have to go through probate as well. In unique situations, beneficiary-named items and those that would pass by means of title may have to go through probate. With a little planning, you can ensure some items avoid the probate process.



Probate without a will


If a person dies without a will and some of their assets have no designated beneficiary, the distribution of assets will be determined under Michigan probate and intestate laws. The probate court will determine the rightful heirs of the assets in question.



How much does probate cost?


Probate legal fees are stipulated under Michigan state laws and are based on the size of the estate in question and the complexity of a case. This fee usually ranges from 1% to 5% of the value of the estate, plus VAT. The administrator is also entitled to a statutory fee for their services. There are also separate fees that are paid, including court costs, document certification, recording fees, property appraisal fees, and filing fees.



Estate Planning Attorney For Probate Cases


Working with a professional estate planning attorney for your probate case ensures that the case is handled as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. The kind of lawyer you choose could mean the difference between a costly, frustrating probate process and an efficient process completed in a timely manner. At Leydorf Law Firm, PLLC, our attorneys are committed to helping clients administer their loved one’s estate as efficiently as possible.

If you’re ready to get started with your probate process, please contact our experienced Michigan probate attorneys or schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation.


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