Because many people fail to plan for the end of their lives, many people are also surprised by the chaos and confusion that can follow one's death with regard to estate administration. There are several different reasons that one's estate may end up in probate court, but Prince Law Firm has the experience necessary to resolve whatever issues exist or arise.
Many Michigan residents have very little knowledge about what exactly happens to a person's estate after he or she dies. Probate administration, and the word "probate" in general, are commonly tossed around. But, the meaning of these terms may be unclear. Probate litigation is another spin on the term, and potential heirs and other interested parties would do well to understand its implications.
When a person's estate is being administered in probate, the process can be quite lengthy. Depending on the size of the decedent's estate and other factors, estate administration can last from several months to several years. The reason for the lengthy duration of the process is that many different things must be taken care of during probate administration. Many of these things are the responsibility of an estate administrator. For this reason, anyone asked to serve as the administrator of another's estate should understand what duties and obligations the role entails.
Probate is a word that refers to the process of estate administration after a person's death. The administration of the estate is carried out by someone named as the personal representative of the decedent. The representative may have been named in the decedent's will or a probate court may appoint an interested person as the estate administrator and personal representative.
American statesman Benjamin Franklin once mused, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Although these enduring words can apply to many situations in life, they are particularly relevant to the estate administration and probate process. Personal representatives, or executors, may have the best intentions at heart, but an honest mistake can have unintended and damaging consequences.
Many people go their entire lives without ever having to be involved in the probate process. Nowadays people are living longer, which often has the unintended result of many people using up all of their assets prior to death, with nothing much of value to pass on to their heirs. And, as anyone familiar with previous posts here knows by now, there are still many people who don't have an estate plan, even though they probably should. All of these factors, combined with the relatively infrequent contact most people have with a probate court, can result in a bit of mystery surrounding probate, and especially probate administration.
With so many ways to approach estate planning, many people often have more questions than answers. What will the impact be on tax planning? What are the best documents to draft for protecting inheritance? What if I have children with special needs and I want to make sure they are taken care of? The list could go on and on. Fortunately, the simple answer to many of these question is this: trusts. However, there are many types of trusts for an individual or family to consider. One popular method, known as the "living trust," was recently the subject of a very informative article which tried to dispel certain myths about this particular estate planning device.
Many Michigan residents may already have an estate plan which they believe is sufficient to their end-of-life wishes. But sometimes estate plans that seem water-tight are filled with tiny holes that can develop into larger ones. To take this holey metaphor further, the puncturing object in some estate plans may be technology itself.
Oakland County residents will be interested to hear of a recent court ruling with regard to the estate of the late civil rights icon Rosa Parks. In what was said to be a sternly written order, the Michigan Supreme Court overturned a previous decision handed down by a Wayne County probate judge and the Michigan Court of Appeals. The original probate dispute centered on a $10 million memorabilia collection and the intellectual property rights of the late civil rights activist.