Probate is the legal process of closing out the estate of a decedent. It includes managing assets for distribution and paying off any debts while complying with legal regulations. Michigan probate laws can be difficult to navigate for those unfamiliar with estate law. For assistance with probate proceedings, reach out to estate law attorneys at Creighton McLean & Shea PLC.
During the probate process, the executor named in the decedent’s will or a personal representative appointed by the probate court carries out the duties of closing out an estate. The main fiduciary duties include:
- Filing a will with the probate court
- Locating and protecting the decedent’s assets
- Notifying creditors and paying debts
- Paying final income taxes
- Distributing remaining assets to named beneficiaries
For smaller estates valued under $22,000, Michigan offers an expedited probate process that does not require the appointment of an executor. Larger estates can be probated under supervised administration wherein the court must approve the actions of the executor, or unsupervised where the court is only involved at the start and completion.
What Assets Must Be Probated?
Assets titled only in the decedent’s name without a beneficiary designation, such as a home or vehicle, must go through probate administration. However, a life insurance policy or pension with a clear beneficiary designation does not.
Estate Planning Strategies To Avoid Probate
The probate process can be lengthy and you must pay court fees and filing costs. Probate records are also public. If you wish to avoid probate to keep the details of your estate private, our lawyers can help you decide what type of estate planning tool, such as a trust or ladybird deed, best suits your needs.