PROBATE

Don't navigate the legal maze alone.

Going through probate is often the last thing you want to do when you've lost a loved one. Paper work, court forms, rules and regulations - the process can be long, confusing, and expensive. Losing someone you love shouldn't come coupled with a stressful administrative burden. 

You don't have to navigate the probate maze alone. Our team knows the ins and outs of probate, and we work with clients every day to efficiently and accurately get through the process. The process is simple.

  • SCHEDULE A MEETING

    Call or email to schedule a FREE, no-pressure conversation.

  • GATHER
    INFORMATION

    Work together to determine what information is needed and what steps to take. 

  • EXPERIENCE
    RELIEF

    Rest assured that you have a team in your corner making sure you get through this process smoothly.

Get started today. Simply call or email us to schedule your free initial consultation.

When probate goes wrong it can be overwhelming, expensive, and you can even be personally liable. Fortunately, you don't have to go it alone. You're one step away from confidence, knowing your matter is being taken care of by experienced and dedicated professionals. 

Probate FAQs

What is probate?

In legalese: Probate is the legal process of validating a decedent's will, with court oversight and approval. The assets of a deceased person are inventoried, final debts and expenses are paid, and distributions are made to beneficiaries.

 

In plain language: When someone dies, the courts have a complex process for their estate which handles bank accounts, possessions like cars and houses, and debts. The process has rules that determine when and how to distribute money and possessions, who gets access first, and more. The rules are complex but important, and if anything in the will is contested it can get even more complicated.

 

Fortunately, there are people who know this stuff inside and out (hint: we do!) who can help navigate the process accurately, saving you time and frustration.

Is probate expensive?

It can be! It depends on the size and complexity of the estate (how much money and assets does it include.) If a simple, informal probate is all that's necessary it may not be that costly. A complex and/or contested probate can get in to many thousands of dollars.

 

One thing it will certainly cost is time. Going through the court means you are at the mercy of their docket, which isn't always quick. Figuring out the rules, timeline, forms, etc. can be overwhelming and time consuming. 

If I have a will, do I need to go through probate?

If you have probatable assets, yes! That's a very "lawyer" answer so let's unpack it.

 

A probatable asset is anything that doesn't have a beneficiary designation and was owned solely by the person who died. So if Joe Smith has a bank account, he is the only owner, and he doesn't name a beneficiary (who gets his account when he dies), the asset would have to go through probate.

 

Probatable assets can include bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, business interests, stocks and bonds, and more. 

 

If you aren't sure if you need to go through probate, give us a call for a free conversation to help determine your options. 

Can I avoid probate?

There are estate planning tools available to avoid or limit going through probate, but these options need to be taken advantage of before death for an estate to avoid probate. Call today for a free estate planning consultation. 

If I have a trust, do I have to go through probate?

Assets held in a properly funded trust most likely do NOT need to go through probate. A properly funded trust means any bank accounts, houses, retirement accounts, etc., are in your trust, a process called trust funding. However, simply having a trust does not mean your assets are in it, and if an asset isn't in a trust when someone dies, that item may need to go through probate.

What happens if I don't have a will or trust when I die?

If you don't have a will or trust when you die, the state of Michigan calls this dying intestate. To make a long story short, this means the court will determine for you who gets your assets (bank accounts, car, house, retirement savings, etc.) based on predetermined law, meaning they don't care who gets what, they just follow their set order. This typically means your closest family members will inherit your assets. For some people this is fine, while for others this is a worst case scenario. 

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