Probate is a court-managed proceeding in which assets are retitled and distributed according to a will or the law of intestacy (when someone passes away without a will). Perhaps you are wondering what is involved in probating an estate? Although every estate is unique, here is a partial list of the duties required in a “typical” probate proceeding:
- Locate and file the decedent’s will (if he or she had one) with the local court
- File necessary probate documents with the court
- Locate, inventory, custody, close and transfer personal assets and accounts
- Appraise and determine the value of all assets
- Ascertain and then notify all known creditors of the estate
- Make payments to creditors, discharge the decedent’s obligations and obtain creditor releases
- Process and obtain life insurance death benefits, if any
- Secure the decedent’s residence and tangible personal property
- File tax returns (federal and Michigan) and make appropriate tax elections
- Pay estate taxes and final personal income taxes, if any
- Obtain tax releases and closing letters from the IRS, local courts and state taxing authorities
- Make specific bequests, together with partial and final distributions, to beneficiaries
- Provide detailed accounting to beneficiaries and the local court
As you can well imagine, accomplishing all of this takes a great deal of time. When you factor in the grief that comes with losing a loved one, the situation can seem overwhelming.
You do not have to go through probate alone. We can guide you through the process and settle the estate as quickly and economically as possible, so you can focus on what is most important—coming to terms with your loss. Contact us today to schedule a personal meeting with one of our Bloomfield Hills, Macomb, or Rochester probate attorneys.
Many people think that once they have funded a trust it will take effect “automatically” when it is needed. Not so. For a trust to carry out the wishes of its maker, the trust must be administered. Trust administration involves filing the will with the Michigan Probate Court and tax filings with the state of Michigan and the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, trust beneficiaries and others must be notified of the decedent’s passing. Additional duties can include opening bank accounts, settling creditor claims, obtaining a new tax ID number, arranging for the sale of assets, paying the final expenses of the decedent, and more. Proper accounting practices must be maintained throughout the entire process.
Failure to properly administer a trust can have serious financial and legal consequences for the trustee. Do not take the decision to serve as trustee lightly. If you have been asked to do so, we can explain the steps involved and the potential risks in clear, easy-to-understand language. If you decide to serve as trustee, we can guide you through the process every step of the way. We can help you choose the ideal trustee if you decide not to take on the responsibility yourself. We can also work closely with your existing advisors and representatives to ensure the directives of the trust are carried out properly.
Contact us today to schedule a personal meeting with one of our Bloomfield Hills, Macomb, or Rochester trust administration attorneys. You are not alone during this difficult time in your life.