The period of time following the loss of a loved one is, of course, a difficult one. At times, challenges concerning estate administration may arise during an already difficult period. Disputes surrounding the legitimacy of a will or trust; the appointment of a guardian or conservator or power of attorney; or the administration of a trust or estate are potential challenges that may arise following the death of a loved one.
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.
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.
In Michigan, the term probate generally refers to the administration of the estate of a person who has died. The term generally encompasses the estate administration regardless of whether the deceased person had a will--and thus made his or her wishes regarding assets and property known--or did not have a will. However, having a will simplifies the probate process because assets and property previously owned by the deceased person will be distributed according to the will provisions as long as the will is deemed valid.
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.
Even for Michigan residents who own very little, the process of probate and estate administration can be difficult and complex for their surviving family members. Struggling through the process, fighting against third parties or those claiming rights to a portion of the estate, and attempting to resolve the deceased's affairs in a way that he or she would have wanted can be very emotionally difficult and draining for someone dealing with the recent loss of a loved one. When estate administration becomes difficult and overwhelming, relatives of the deceased may want to seek the advice and assistance of an experienced attorney.
The process of estate planning can involve some rather difficult decisions. Not only do individuals consider the wide array of legal instruments available, but the actual process of selecting beneficiaries can be challenging.
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.
Being named as the executor of an estate requires trust. The person who creates an estate plan puts a lot of faith and confidence in this individual to distribute assets within the bounds of the prepared documents and state law.
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.