When a loved one from Michigan passes away, their family members have to deal with their final arrangements. An individual with has an estate plan in place will likely have named a personal representative. This person is responsible for making sure the decedent's estate is probated properly. They have several duties that they must complete throughout the process.
Being the executor of an estate in Michigan is usually a straightforward process. The executor must file the will in probate court and notify all the beneficiaries. If someone challenges the will, the process becomes more complex. A contest has to be filed within a certain amount of time. When this happens, the executor should contact the attorney who prepared the will since this person can be an important witness.
Trusts are a popular choice for many people in Michigan who want greater flexibility and options when planning for how their assets can support their loved ones. Not only do they allow property to transfer outside the probate system, but they can create structures to support minor children, people with special needs and other beneficiaries on an ongoing basis. When many people create their trusts, they are responsible for managing them during their lives and can make changes and amendments to their plans as necessary. In most cases, people name a successor trustee to take over the management of the trust after they become incapacitated or pass away.
Many people in Michigan want to make sure their children and other loved ones are cared for after they pass away. When people remarry later in life, both spouses may be more interested in providing for their adult children as part of their estate plan while others may want to develop systems that help them support each other as well as their kids. However, experience may point to the importance of open family communication about estate planning. Many of these incidents involve families with adult children who have lived outside the home for many years, but closer communication could prevent potential theft as well as rifts in the family.
When a friend or loved one asks you to act as the executor of their estate, it would be hard to say no. However, as just about anyone who has worked in estate administration and probate can tell you, most who say yes have no idea what they are committing themselves to.
One of the best decisions a person can make when it comes to estate matters is to leave a Last Will and Testament, setting out their last wishes for the distribution of their assets. As any party who has ever participated in probate work can tell you, things do not always go as planned. Sometimes, they go worse than anyone could have ever imagined. We all want to believe that after we are gone, our loved ones will work together peacefully and respect one another. But, often, this doesn't happen.
There are few areas of the law where knowledge and experience are as important as they are in estate matters. Probate and estate planning are ever changing landscapes, affected by a number of laws and regulations. This is why you and your family should only trust an attorney with a proven track record of successful planning and probate litigation.
Families in the throes of estate planning may sometimes forget about some assets, such as Medicare, retirement accounts, and Social Security. These are assets that can be very important down the road and could carry a lot of value within the estate. A wrong move in the consideration of such assets could have serious repercussions.
Probate court can seem like a mystery to many Michigan residents. After all, going through the probate process may be the first exposure a person has with the court system. But, when the need to go through this process arises, taking the right steps and having all the right information about one's legal options can make the process go smoother.
Probate, the court proceeding governing the distribution of a decedent's property, is only one process that occurs after that person dies. The decedent's executor must also perform other several duties that are an important part of estate administration.