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Estate Administration & Probate Archives

What steps should you take to ease the probate process?

If our Michigan readers have a will, they are off to a good start with their estate plans. A simple will covers many basic estate planning needs, with many people simply leaving everything to their spouse and vice versa. Couples with minor children have an extra step to take, naming another person or couple to care for their children in the unfortunate event of the spouses' simultaneous death. Many of the steps taken in drafting a will go a long ways toward expediting the probate process, but are there other steps that can help? According to a recent article, there is a sort of "checklist" individuals and couples should look to when beginning to lay out their estate plan.

Is a summer home among your special assets?

Michigan has a great reputation as being a place to go to enjoy the outdoors. Many people from other states will purchase summer homes on one of the lakes to enjoy with their families, or to rent out to others when they aren't in personal use. A summer home is a big purchase for a family, but it is often worth the extra effort and money it takes to maintain a separate house that is sometimes hours away from where a family actually lives. And, when kids get older and start families of their own, the summer home can actually become a focal point for large family get-togethers or a vacation spot for what was one family that has now become several. But does owning a summer home present unique questions from a probate standpoint? According to one recent article, the answer to that question is a resounding "yes."

Small mistakes can have a big effect on your assets

Any of our Michigan readers who are familiar with previous posts here have seen many that cover topics ranging from the essential nature of drafting a will, the pros and cons of considering trusts in an estate plan and the importance of discussing the options and implications behind appointing a representative in a power of attorney document. A brief overview of the wide variety of possibilities may leave a reader thinking that estate administration is both complicated and expensive. But that doesn't have to be the case.

What do you need to know about the probate process?

Although the move to increase people's knowledge of the importance of estate planning seems to have picked up across the country in recent years, many people are probably still confused about the probate process. This is easily understandable. When a person says "probate," some people, even perhaps some of our Michigan readers, will say "what's that?" Conscious of the mystery that surrounds the needs and necessities included in estate planning and probate, the author of one recent article decided to approach the issue in a uniquely simple format: a Top-10 list.

Claim against director's estate could lead to probate litigation

For many Americans, and perhaps some of our Michigan readers, the probate process can be a bit of a mystery. Of course most people know that they should at least have a will, even those people who don't have one. The problem, however, is that many people simply do not know what will actually take place when the time to use that will comes around. Although anyone planning out and executing an estate plan usually does so with the express goal of avoiding probate litigation, that is not always possible. Estate administration can be tricky at times, but as long as the estate planning documents are clear and the executor is competent, the whole process will generally go much more smoothly.

What is the best way to avoid probate litigation?

Most of our Michigan readers know that one of the ultimate goals of estate planning is to avoid costly and time consuming probate litigation. Probate and estate administration can be difficult enough at times without having to worry about an heir or potential heir bringing a claim forward in an attempt to de-legitimize a will. However, what many of our readers may not know is that it is ultimately up to the estate planner themselves to stay on point in the effort to make sure a probate court fight does not ensue after they pass.

Do young Michigan families need an estate plan?

Many of our previous posts have focused on the variety of approaches a Michigan resident can take with estate planning. Estate administration can be a complicated and delicate process, so it is of the utmost importance that all estate planning documents are in the highest level of detail and stored in a manner which will make the probate process as quick and easy as possible. But who is it, really, that needs an estate plan? Is it only wealthy individuals with thousands, if not millions, in assets which need to be designated for distribution? The answer is, quite simply, absolutely not. Even a young couple, perhaps recently married or with a newborn baby, should be sure to complete the necessary documents of an estate plan.

Kevorkian assets in tug-of-war, but settlement finally reached

Most of our Michigan readers probably remember Dr. Jack Kevorkian. The nationally known advocate for assisted-suicide died in the Detroit area in June of this year at the age of 83. Of course, this was only after he served a prison sentence after being convicted in 1999 of second-degree murder for his role in the assisted suicide of a terminally ill Michigan resident. He was released in 2007. Now, in the course of Kevorkian's ongoing estate administration, it looks as if some of his personal property will be returning to his designated heir.

Gay couple becomes embroiled in estate administration controversy

With the advances in reproductive technology showing up at a fast and furious pace, the law has struggled to keep up. Today's modern family can look very different than most did in the 1950's, especially with more states protecting the rights of gay couples to adopt children or raise children as a married couple. The family law courts are where most people see the clash between modern day family structure, reproductive technology and the law, but a recent story shows how alternative family arrangements can stretch over into the realm of estate administration.

Jackson family strife shows pitfalls of probate litigation

Some of our Oakland County readers may be keeping up with the family strife that is tearing the world-famous Jackson family apart these days. Michael Jackson's death was both sudden and tragic, and even after so much time has passed since then, his family members are waging a very public and, at times, very nasty fight over perceived problems with his estate administration.

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