Our Bloomfield Hills, MI probate attorneys understand how difficult the loss of a loved one can be. When you are grieving, it can seem overwhelming to have to also manage the legal issues involved with your loved one’s estate. Our Michigan probate law firm is here to guide you through the complexities of probate matters, whether you reside in Michigan or are an out-of-state executor or heir.
Probate is the process by which the court identifies, locates, values and distributes a deceased person’s assets. It can be drawn-out, intrusive, and expensive, not to mention stressful for those not familiar with the process. If an estate is mismanaged, even innocently, an executor or administrator can be exposed to liability. The help of a knowledgeable, experienced attorney is invaluable–and far less costly than an extended, contentious probate process without legal support.
Our Rochester MI probate attorneys offer efficient, professional assistance to clients dealing with probate matters in Macomb County, Oakland County, and throughout Southeastern Michigan. Our services include:
Preparing and filing all required documents, including wills, inventories, accountings and reports with the probate court
Ensuring court fees and expenses are timely paid
Contacting interested parties and heirs of the deceased
Notifying potential creditors of the estate
Preparing or overseeing the preparation of federal estate and income tax returns for the estate
Handling claims against the estate
Representing the heir of a decedent who dies intestate (without a will)
Dealing with probate litigation and will contests
It is possible to probate an estate without the help of an attorney–but if you ask anyone who has tried to, you’ll find out why an attorney’s help is highly recommended. Here are a few of the reasons:
Liability: The probate process is extremely detail-oriented and complicated. If a form is filled out incorrectly or incompletely, or a filing deadline is missed, the process may not be able to move forward until the problem is fixed. Without an attorney, the executor or administrator is personally liable for mistakes. The cost of those mistakes can be catastrophic, and usually much greater than the cost of legal help to avoid them.
Efficiency: Because of the complexity of probate, and the delays that ensue when an inexperienced party tries to handle the process, it often takes 1-2 years to settle an estate without an attorney’s help. That time is greatly reduced with a knowledgeable probate attorney on board. In addition, the executor is spared hours of puzzling out probate forms and standing in line at probate court. Because of the court’s hours, filing documents without an attorney often means lost time from work. And if the forms are wrong or incomplete, you’ll have to correct them and come back another day.
Family Harmony: Your time is valuable, and so is your money. But nothing is more valuable, especially in a time of loss, than your good relationship with family members. We have heard many stories of families fracturing due to anger about how an estate was being managed. In one case, identical twin brothers who had been lifelong best friends nearly came to blows over the mishandled administration of a parent’s estate. Do not risk your family harmony in a misguided effort to save a few dollars.
Probate is a legal process which may be required when someone dies and his or her assets are titled in their personal name. Probate is court supervised and usually gives surviving members the legal authority to obtain information about the deceased person’s assets and debts. The court appoints a personal representative to gather up all the assets and debts of the decedent, report to the probate court with an Inventory and Accounting of estate assets and debts, and then distribute the net assets to heirs after the debts are paid.
The typical property which needs to be probated includes real estate, bank accounts, personal property, stocks, bonds and debts. The typical property which is not probated is jointly owned property, retirement accounts, life insurance with proper beneficiary designations, trust owned property and the “pay on death” designation at a financial institution.
There are many rules to follow in the probate court, so it is advised that a person retain a probate attorney. Please call the offices of Graham and Hubbert if you have additional questions.
Contact Oakland County, Michigan probate attorney Jim Hubbert today to learn how our law firm can help you achieve peace of mind with regard to the probate of a loved one’s estate. We will handle the legal details and paperwork, while keeping you fully informed, so that you can focus on the people and things that really matter.