Probate Lawyer for Berkley, MI

Probate Lawyer for Berkley, MI

Are you thinking about writing a will or setting up a trust to make your passing as simple for your survivors as possible? Has your family recently lost a loved one, and now you need to wind up their financial affairs? If so, you’re probably realizing how daunting the probate process can be, especially if you’ve never gone through it before. Fortunately, you do not need to approach these matters on your own. An experienced probate lawyer serving Berkley, Michigan, can act as your guide, helping you prepare for the future with confidence.

The attorneys with Bingham Legal Group are ready to leverage our more than 60 years of combined legal experience to meet your probate and estate planning needs. We want to help you protect your and your family’s interests during an emotionally intense time, and to do so with compassion, respect, and understanding. Contact us today for an initial case review to discuss how we can assist and defend you.

Understanding Probate Law

Probate law, including trusts and estates law, governs how individuals and families manage generational assets and wealth. Estate planning involves drafting and executing documents to establish legal structures, such as trusts, or direct the disposition of an individual’s assets after death. Probate is the court-supervised process of establishing a deceased person’s estate and administering the collection and distribution of their assets through the estate. 

Types of Estate Planning and Probate Matters We Can Help You With

At Bingham Legal Group, our legal practice helps residents of Berkley with all kinds of estate planning needs, including:

  • Wills: Wills serve as the cornerstone of an estate plan, nominating the person(s) who will manage your estate and directing the disposition of your assets and wealth. 
  • Trusts: Trusts allow individuals and families to protect and manage their assets while facilitating the distribution of family wealth without the time and expense of probate. 
  • Beneficiary designations: You can pass money from financial accounts or life insurance policies to loved ones through beneficiary designations.
  • Powers of attorney: If you or a loved one cannot manage your personal, financial, or legal affairs, durable powers of attorney allow you to nominate trusted family members or friends to act on your behalf. 
  • Advance care directives/living wills: Advance care directives, living wills, and durable medical powers of attorney ensure that a trusted loved one has the authority to make medical and end-of-life decisions if you become incapacitated. 
  • Special needs trusts: Special needs trust planning can help you protect a disabled family member’s assets and eligibility for government benefits to help cover long-term care costs.
  • Medicare/Nursing home planning: Preparing in advance to meet Medicare’s eligibility requirements or otherwise pay for nursing home care can help you live out your life in comfort and dignity. 

Our probate attorneys also guide families through various types of estate matters, such as:

  • Estate administration: Our firm advises people serving as administrators or executors of estates on their duties and obligations. We can help assess estate assets, pay off debts and obligations, and distribute remaining assets accurately under the terms of the will. 
  • Trust administration: We guide trustees and beneficiaries through the complex issues or challenges that may arise during trust administration and asset management. 
  • Probate litigation: Our firm guides family members and executors/administrators through legal disputes during probate, including will contests, appointment of personal representatives, breaches of fiduciary duty, and estate accounting
  • Trust litigation: We help trustees and beneficiaries resolve trust disputes, including removal of trustees, distributions to beneficiaries, and dissolution of trusts

Why Choose Bingham Legal Group for Your Estate Planning and Probate Needs?

Estate planning can help you prepare and provide for your and your loved ones’ futures. Hiring experienced legal counsel is vital to creating a comprehensive estate plan for your needs and goals. For decades, individuals and families across Michigan have turned to Bingham Legal Group for knowledgeable legal representation in estate planning and probate matters because of our:

  • Personalized service: With our firm, you will work with the same attorney throughout the estate planning or probate process. We take the time to get to know you and understand your needs, goals, and concerns to deliver tailored legal solutions. 
  • Flexibility: While our small firm can provide you with the personal attention you deserve, our collaborative approach gives you the benefit of our attorneys’ collective knowledge and experience. 
  • Efficiency: We provide practical legal solutions and strategies without the excessive cost you might incur with a larger law firm. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Probate and Asset Protection

Here are the answers to some of the questions our clients have about the probate process.

What property goes through probate?

Although most of the assets you hold at the time of your death will pass to your heirs and beneficiaries through the probate process, probate law excludes various kinds of assets from its scope, such as:

  • Property you jointly own with others under a joint tenancy with right of survivorship or a tenancy by the entirety
  • Assets that have beneficiary designations, such as an IRA, annuity, or life insurance policy
  • Transfer/pay-on-death financial accounts

In addition, when you place assets in trust during your life, those assets leave your estate and do not pass through probate. 

How long does probate take in Berkley, Michigan?

The duration of the probate process varies from estate to estate but usually takes between six months and a year. Several factors can affect this timeline, including how quickly the administrator is appointed and gets started on the process, how long creditors take to file claims against the estate, and whether the administrator has engaged experienced legal help. 

What happens if I die without a will?

If you do not have an estate plan when you die, your assets will pass to your heirs according to Michigan’s intestacy laws. Intestacy laws determine which family members will inherit from your estate when you die without a will. As a result, your assets may pass to family members you do not want to inherit from you. An estate plan will ensure that your assets and wealth get distributed according to your wishes after your death. 

Do I need to undertake estate planning if I have few assets to leave behind?

Although many people assume that only the wealthy need to make an estate plan, estate planning can benefit people from all financial backgrounds. For example, a will can ensure that your assets will pass to the individuals and organizations you want to inherit from you. You can also use a will to nominate someone to serve as guardian for your children if you and your partner/spouse both pass away. You might use a special needs trust to provide for a disabled loved one, especially after you or other family members can no longer care for them. You might engage in Medicare and nursing home planning to secure long-term care for your final years. 

Contact Our Estate Planning Attorneys Today

If you’re looking for estate protection or need to wind up a loved one’s affairs after their passing, hiring experienced legal counsel can make the process more straightforward and less stressful. Contact Bingham Legal Group today for a confidential consultation with a knowledgeable probate lawyer serving Berkley, Michigan, and let’s discuss your rights and options. 

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