Probate

Probate consists of the legal process of administering a deceased person's estate according to his or her valid will. The administration process involves resolving any claims made against the estate, such as from creditors or tax liabilities, as well as distributing the property and assets to the beneficiaries of the will. The first step in the probate process is verifying the validity of the will. In the probate process, the instructions per the will are determined, an executor or personal representative for the estate is named, and the rights of creditors and heirs or others who have claims on the estate are handled through the state court system.

Probate can be a complex matter, particularly in larger estates. There are many factors that must be professionally administered, and our firm has the experience and ethical practice that is so crucial in any legal matter that involves finances. When there is a challenge regarding a will or an estate or probate matter, it is vital that a skilled litigator, familiar with all aspects of estate law, prepares and presents the case. Our firm is proud of their service to the families, individuals and business owners throughout the Detroit Area, and invites you to contact one of our attorneys to discuss estate planning, trusts, wills or other critical legal matter.

As with any legal process, many technical aspects and complexities can occur in the probate procedure. If you are involved in the probate of an estate anywhere in the Detroit area as an executor or in some other capacity, it is crucial that you have legal guidance of a probate lawyer. Our firm is fully versed in Michigan probate laws and the system which handles these matters. We can provide the skilled and knowledgeable legal assistance needed for any probate administration, probate disputes or probate litigation matter.

Many issues will need to be resolved in any probate, including the appointment of a personal representative, notifying creditors, publication of legal notices, handling any pending lawsuits, estate, gift, and inheritance tax determinations, the paying of any debts against the estate, the valuation of assets and property, and interpretation of the deceased's wishes and instructions in the will. All of these need to be handled per Michigan state law, requiring the attention of a probate attorney from our firm to ensure that it is done properly.

We invite you to contact our firm to arrange for consultation to discuss your probate concerns today.

PROBATE ADMINSTRATION

PROBATE administration occurs when the decedent leaves a will with a substantial estate. The court appoints an executor to administer the estate to carry out with the wishes of the decedent in accordance with the law. This is a complex matter for a layman to deal with where knowledge OF PROBATE LAW, familiarity with court procedure and forms are vital to avoid blunders and delays.

Duties of an Executor in Probate Administration

The duties of an executor include:

  • Submission of the last will & testament for verification and approval.
  • Notification of the proceeding to creditors and heirs.
  • Collecting up of assets and preparation of an inventory.
  • Review of creditor claims for approval or rejection.
  • Handling probate litigation in court proceedings.
  • Payment of bills and taxes.
  • Sale of assets if needed under court supervision
  • Prepare petition for distribution of assets.

One of our probate specialists guides you through probate procedures so that there is no breach of fiduciary duty or other mishaps in the administration. Where there is probate litigation, the attorney provides strong defense of clients' actions so probate administration may proceed as planned.

Probate Disputes

Most of the time a last will and testament goes through the probate process without problems. In some cases, however, probate disputes occur between heirs and beneficiaries, between beneficiaries and personal representatives or with other interested parties. These disputes include contesting the validity of the will, accusations of undue influence made upon the deceased before he or she passed away, allegations of fraud or violations of fiduciary duty against those involved in the estate, mistakes made in the will, forgery allegations, or assertions that the deceased had suffered a loss of mental capacity when the will was made. Partners, family members, and dependents who feel that they have not been made proper provisions by the deceased or through the estate may also challenge the probate process.

In all of these circumstances, claims made against the estate will have to be resolved. Having an experienced lawyer like us who know Michigan probate laws is imperative to have in these types of probate disputes. The law in these matters can be quite complex and it is important to be represented by an attorney with the proper probate knowledge and experience. Whether you are contesting a will or making a claim against an estate or if you are a personal representative facing these matters, we recommend that you have our full professional support.

In probate disputes, conflict among heirs may arise out of one or more beneficiaries inserting themselves into the financial affairs of the deceased prior to his or her death; these beneficiaries may be a child, child from a former marriage, former spouse, or even caretakers. Having competent legal counsel in such matters is essential. In probate administration, issues sometimes arise which require probate litigation. Whether one is the executor of the probate administration, an heir or creditor, it is essential to be represented by legal counsel with a thorough knowledge of probate law and procedure. Unrepresented parties are at a severe disadvantage. It is urged that parties contact us for help.

Probate Litigation Issues

  • Will Contests: A last will & testament may be challenged on a number of grounds. The will may be fraudulent. The writer may have been of unsound mind or under undue influence. The language of the will may be ambiguous.
  • Omission of a Child: If a child is not mentioned, the child may say that the writer made a mistake.
  • Creditor Claims: A creditor may submit a claim that the executor objects to.
  • Sale of Assets: The executor may want to sell the family home to pay debts or make distribution easier. An heir may want to keep the home in the family. The heir may seek to buy the home from the estate but there is an issue over what is a fair price.

The firm provides aggressive advocacy to clients engaged in probate litigation. Being attorneys in the area for some time, the firm is experienced in dealing with court clerks, attorneys and judges throughout the Detroit Metropolitan area. This familiarity coupled with a thorough knowledge of probate law and procedure gives them a decided edge in defending clients' interests in court proceedings.

While probate provides a forum to resolve disputes and safeguards against mismanagement of funds, it is costly and time consuming. Avoidance of probate can be achieved by setting up trusts to pass the funds to the next generation smoothly and without court filings. The attorneys speak with the client to learn the client's financial situation and intentions. They then explain the options available including how to avoid probate. In accord with the client's wishes the attorney then prepares the appropriate documents.

For guidance in avoidance of probate, call us today for help.

Print Version Print Version       Send to a friend Send to a friend