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.
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.
Aging and dying are not things that most Michigan residents like to think about, both because the future is so unknown and because planning for the end of your life is generally not pleasant. However, there are many different reasons that you should seek advice regarding estate planning and administration.
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.
More and more, people are integrating their lives into the digital realm. Traditional print news is becoming a thing of the past, people can conduct banking without ever speaking to a teller and social relationships are built without face-to-face communication -- just to touch on a few examples. Not to mention the fact that blogs, such as this one, are a common means for providing information to a wide audience.
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.
Most of our Michigan readers probably know that estate plans are very specific to each individual's situation. For instance, a Michigan resident of even modest means will need a will to designate property distribution and appoint guardians for minor children. However, someone with substantial assets may need more than a will. An estate plan for a wealthy person could include a number of different trusts, designed with separate and specific goals in mind. Every person's estate plan will differ depending on who they want to receive their assets and by what means they would like to achieve their goals. A recent article, however, focused on one type of person in particular - business owners.