probate process

When someone passes away, their property is distributed through the probate process. If there are any conflicts between family members or issues with creditors, these will have to be hashed out during this process. You probably want to make sure that everything goes smoothly, so it’s a good idea to hire our Washtenaw County probate attorneys. We can answer your questions and help you make this process as simple as possible.

How Does the Probate Process Go?

When someone dies, the person they chose as their executor is responsible for taking control of the estate. If that person is unable to fulfill that duty or there was no will, then the probate court will choose someone to act as a personal representative for the decedent. Usually, a surviving spouse is prioritized for this role.

Then it is the duty of the executor or personal responsibility to gather and inventory the assets of the decedent. If any assets need to be appraised, that is taken care of. Then any debts and taxes need to be paid.

Finally, it is time to distribute the property according to the will. It is the personal representative’s job to follow the wishes of the deceased. They cannot change who gets what based on their own preferences.

Do All Assets Go Through the Probate Process?

Many of your loved one’s assets will go through the probate process when they pass away, but not all of them have to. Certain assets will not be subject to probate, including:

  • Any account with a beneficiary designation or payable-on-death provision
  • Proceeds from a life insurance policy
  • Assets held in a trust
  • Assets owned in “joint tenancy,” like a home shared with a spouse

What is the Simplified Probate Process?

In some cases, a deceased person’s assets do not need to go through a formal probate process. A simplified probate is available for smaller estates in Michigan. If the value of an estate after funeral and burial costs is less than $15,000 or if the estate is only large enough to cover the last illness, funeral costs, and other expenses, a simplified probate process could be followed. This process will go faster and cost less than the typical proceedings.

What Happens to Property if There Was No Will?

If there is no will, the property of the deceased will pass down to close family members in accordance with state law. Usually, spouses and children are the first priority. If the decedent had a living spouse and no children, their spouse would get everything. If there are children and a spouse, they would split the estate.

Contact Our Law Firm

If you have any questions about the probate process or how your loved one’s assets will be handled, contact Collis, Griffor & Hendra. We can sit down for a consultation and tell you more about what you can do to ensure that probate does not place undue stress on you and your family.

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