Probate & Estate Planning Attorneys Serving Redford & Southeastern Michigan
When your loved one dies without a Will, trust, or only a Will, their assets generally have to go through Probate Court to be retitled into the names of the heirs. You deserve a probate attorney who has worked in the Probate Court system and knows how to get results.
Our probate attorneys have 30 years of experience in the Probate Courts, creating Living Wills, creating Living Trusts, and will handle your case in an efficient and timely manner to get you the best results from probating the estate.
Probate Court Process in Redford Township & Southeastern Michigan
Our probate attorneys handle the probate of your loved one’s Will, or the Intestate Estate if they never had Will completed for them. We follow the case from the opening of the Estate through the final disbursement of the property.
We prepare and file all of the required documents with the Probate Court, obtain the bond, correspond with the heirs, handle claims of creditors, take care of retitling the property, prepare the inventory and accountings and meet with court analysts to approve the accountings and close the Estate. To see more about the administration of an estate, see our probate administration attorney page.
Probate can be tedious, confusing, time-consuming and exasperating, especially if you need to obtain Guardianship or if you are not familiar with the process. Having a probate attorney takes the burden of making sure you have complied with the law off your shoulders and facilitates a smooth transfer of assets to the heirs.
Our probate attorneys in Redford, Michigan have over 30 years experience in probating estates for folks in the southeastern part of Michigan. In that time, they have handled almost every kind of estate imaginable, and can help you get through the probate process quickly.
Steps of Probating an Estate in Michigan
Probating an Estate can be a confusing and time consuming task. The steps and tasks our probate attorneys handle for you are as follows:
- There are numerous probate forms to fill out and file with the court, including an inventory of the assets in the Estate.
- The correct accountings have to be approved and filed with the probate court.
- Inventory fees have to be paid to the probate court.
- Notices have to be published in the proper legal publications.
- Heirs must be notified that the estate is being probated, and they often need to sign off on the appointment of the Personal Representative, accountings, distributions, etc.
As you can see, probating a case is a complex process that requires knowledge of how to efficiently navigate the probate court system in order to expedite the process as much as possible. Call our probate attorneys to see how they can help you get through the probate process.
Frequently Asked Questions about Probate and Estate Planning
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of transferring ownership of assets from the estate of the deceased person to his or her heirs. Most assets cannot be transferred without probate proceedings if they were held only in the decedent’s name.
How Long Do Probate Cases Usually Take in Michigan?
Every probate case is different. If there is a valid Will and the heirs are not contesting the Will or fighting among themselves, probate can go relatively quickly. If one or more heirs do contest the Will, or assert claims in excess of their statutory shares if there is no Will, it takes much longer to go through Probate. How long a probate case takes depends on how much litigation takes place before the matter is settled.
In a normal, uncontested situation, you must file the case and give notice to all known creditors that the Estate has been opened. The creditors then have four months to file any claims against the Estate. Any claims not filed within that time are usually waived.
Once the initial four months have passed, it is just a matter of gathering all of the assets and either selling them or retitling them to the heirs. If there is a house to sell, that can delay things. Sometimes it is difficult to find all of the assets. You want to make sure that all of the assets are accounted for before the case is closed. If you discover an asset after the case has been closed, you have to reopen the Estate in order to retitle the asset.
So, a typical, uncontested Estate where all of the assets are known can usually be completed within a year. Contested cases or cases where the assets are hard to determine can take much longer.
How Much Does a Probate Lawyer in Michigan Cost?
Some attorneys charge an hourly rate, billing the Estate for the amount of time they spend on it; others charge a percentage of the value of the Estate. At an hourly rate, an average, modest, uncontested estate probate will cost approximately $2,000.00 to $4,000.00 in attorney fees. Contested or difficult cases can cost much more.
In addition to attorney fees, there are filing fees, court costs, and other fees charged by the Probate Court and State of Michigan.
The main advantage to having experienced probate attorneys handle the probating of the estate is that you save money in attorney fees. This is because over the past 30 years our probate attorneys have probated a lot of estates and know how to maneuver in the probate court to speed up the probate process.
There is no need to spend extra time, which you would get billed for by other attorneys, conducting research on how to handle your specific probate case and it’s needs. Our probate attorneys have almost surely handled a probate case like yours in the past and can use that experience to your advantage.
Can’t I Just Put Everything into My Children’s Names and Avoid Probate Altogether?
The short answer is yes; that’s one way to plan your estate, but there are many consequences for taking that action. Anything that is in your children’s names belongs to those children and is fair game for their creditors. If a creditor gets a judgment against them, that creditor could try to take that asset to satisfy the judgment. In addition, if one of your children is involved in a motor vehicle accident, or other injury causing incident, and the victim obtains a judgment against him, your property is again up for grabs if it is in that child’s name.
Once you put an asset in your child’s name, you lose sole control over that asset. If you put your house in your son’s name and he decides that he would like to sell it, he can do so. You can also lose your homestead exemption. Even if you put the house into your name and your son’s name, he can still force you to sell the house if he wants to. Let’s say he decides that you should move to an assisted living facility. He can take you to court to partition the property which will usually result in its being sold and the proceeds of the sale being divided between you.
Another problem is that you can’t change your mind. Once you have recorded a deed giving your home to your son, you can’t take it back. If you decide later that you would rather leave it to your daughter, or equally to all of your children, you will not be able to do so. The house no longer belongs to you.
If you hold your bank account as a joint account with your son, he has the same access you have to that account. If he gets into financial difficulty, that may be too much temptation to resist. Further, if he doesn’t approve of how you are spending your money, he could clean out the account and put it into an account in his name alone.