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.
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.
Being named executor of an estate can be viewed as an honor. Given the importance of personal assets and property, it takes no small amount of trust to afford the powers of executorship to one or more people.
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.
Making the decision about who will be in charge of administering an estate can be tricky. Not only is it important to select an executor (or executors) who can be trusted, but it's also critical to make sure the designation is valid and the named individuals are up to the job.
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.
It is quite understandable if Michigan residents have a lot of questions about the probate process. After all, anyone familiar with previous posts here knows that topics can range from the details of trusts to powers of attorney to long-term planning. With so many factors to consider during the planning stage, there is every reason for an estate planner to think about what will occur when the actual estate administration process begins.
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.