Probate & Trust Planning

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Ensure That the Right Steps are Made to Protect Your Assets with Help From Michigan’s Leading Probate Planning Attorneys

A loved one's passing can be complicated by the legalities of probate litigation that executing a will can cause if estate administration has not been carefully planned for.

A guardian or conservator can easily feel overwhelmed at the maze of complicated jargon and legal requirements involved with estate administration, but you don't have to navigate these issues alone.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the legal process of executing a will that begins after someone dies; it is generally managed by a probate lawyer who presents evidence before a court in order to validate and execute the last will and testament of the deceased. It is in probate that debts are settled from the estate, inheritance is paid and the executor is compensated. The probate process often lasts from a few months up to a year and will bring with it court costs and the fees paid to the probate attorney. If no executor is named in the will, a probate court judge will assign a probate lawyer as the executor and he will be compensated from the estate.

The Role of a Will

The will is a document that declares the intentions of the deceased to bequeath money and property to specific persons after death. Possessing a will does not avoid probate, as some may believe, but a well-designed will can ensure a smooth and efficient probate process that doesn't draw on the resources of the estate while it is executed in probate. Enlisting the help of an experienced probate attorney can help to guarantee that a will is executed as intended in probate.

How Can Trusts Help Avoid Probate?

A trust is a legal instrument designed to shield assets from passing through probate court and coming under the control of estate law. Proper trust administration can ensure that assets are not subject to the estate tax, nor are they held in probate for months after one's passing. This is possible because the assets in question are legally transferred in life from their original owner to the trust, though this can easily be written so that the owner can revoke it at any time. Trusts are an excellent way to smooth the estate administration process and avoid the majority of probate litigation, and have helped many provide a safety net for their loved ones.

Tax Preparation Responsibilities

Upon death, a new taxable entity is created and that is the estate. This estate itself is responsible for taxes and the executor, often a probate attorney, ensures that taxes obligations are covered correctly. The executor may need to liquidate assets to meet tax obligations after an appraisal of the estate has been completed, but once again, it is wise to seek the assistance of an experienced probate lawyer rather than attempt to navigate the intricacies of the tax code unaided.

Probate and Trust Administration Services

Proper planning through living revocable trusts and carefully written wills can save significant expenses and avoid the risk of mismanaging a valuable estate. If you live in any of the following cities and want to rest easy in the knowledge that your loved ones' estates will be protected, you should consider the probate and trust administration services offered by Heritage Elder Law and Planning.

Contact us today to receive a free strategy session with an experienced elder law attorney.