The administration of an estate after a loved one has passed can be an extremely stressful and confusing time. In addition to the emotional impact of the loss, there is the legal need to administer the decedent’s estate in a timely and organized way. We compassionately assist our clients in the administration of decedents’ estates, regardless of whether the individual died intestate, with a will, or with a trust.
The basic duties of a personal representative or trustee in Michigan estate administration involve collection of assets, management of assets, and disbursement of assets. There are very specific laws and time limits involved in administering a decedent’s estate. There are also severe penalties for the improper administration of an estate. If you are in charge of administering the estate of a loved one, we can help. We can also assist you in the administration of estates from out of state.
Simply put, the Michigan probate process is designed to transfer a decedent’s property to heirs. Unfortunately, there is nothing simple about it. The process can involve all of the following duties and more:
- Locate and file the Last Will and Testament with the local court
- File required probate documents with the court
- Locate, inventory, custody, close and transfer personal assets/accounts
- Appraise and value all assets
- Pay debts and expenses associated with the last illness and funeral
- Ascertain, and notify, all known creditors of the estate
- Make payments to creditors, discharge obligations and obtain creditor releases
- Process and receive life insurance death benefits
- Secure personal residence and tangible personal property
- File appropriate tax returns (federal and state) and make appropriate tax elections
- Pay estate taxes and final personal income taxes
- Obtain tax releases and closing letters from local courts, the IRS and state taxing authorities
- Make specific bequests, as well as partial and final distributions to beneficiaries (including packing and shipping of tangible personal property)
- Provide complete detailed accounting to the local court and estate beneficiaries
All of this would be difficult enough without the added stress and grief of coping with the loss of a loved one.
You do not have to go through this process alone. While much of our practice is devoted to helping families avoid probate entirely through the use of trusts and other estate planning tools, we can guide you through the probate court system with sensitivity and compassion. Contact us today to learn how we can be of service during this difficult time.