Probate Lawyers for Farmington, MI

Probate Lawyers for Farmington, MI

Are you managing a loved one’s estate in Farmington, Michigan? If so you may wish to turn to an attorney for help with the complex and high-stakes probate process. You have enough to worry about right now. Letting an attorney navigate the process of administering the estate can help you focus on your grief and caring for your loved ones during a difficult time.

Understanding Probate Law in Farmington

Trusts, estates, and probate laws in Michigan provide individuals and families with options for managing and protecting hard-earned wealth. The probate process involves court-supervised administration of a deceased individual’s estate to wind up the individual’s affairs and distribute their property according to the terms of their will or state law. 

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

At Bingham Legal Group, our estate planning attorneys have decades of experience guiding individuals and families in Farmington and throughout Michigan through the process of setting up estate planning tools such as:

  • Wills: The basis of most estate plans, a will allows you to nominate a person or persons to manage your estate after your death and direct who will receive your property.
  • Trusts: Through a trust, a family can protect and manage their wealth and pass it to succeeding generations.
  • Powers of Attorney: A durable power of attorney allows you to nominate a trusted family member or friend to manage your personal, legal, and financial affairs if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated and unable to manage your affairs or communicate decisions. 
  • Advance Care Directives/Living Wills/Healthcare Powers of Attorney: You can appoint a trusted family member to serve as your healthcare proxy to manage your medical care if you become incapacitated and unable to communicate choices. You might also draft an advance care directive or living will to inform your proxy and healthcare providers of your medical treatment or end-of-life care preferences. 
  • Beneficiary Designations: With certain financial accounts or products, you can designate someone to receive control/ownership of the account or the funds/benefits upon your death. 
  • Special Needs Trusts: If you have a family member with special needs, you can protect their financial interests and provide for their care by establishing a special needs trust. 
  • Medicaid/Long-Term Care Planning: Individuals can set up Medicaid trusts and other estate planning tools to prepare for nursing home costs in their final years. 

We have over 60 years of combined experience helping Michigan residents with an array of probate-related matters, including:

  • Estate Administration and Probate Litigation: We help administrators and executors gather a decedent’s assets, wind up their financial affairs, and distribute property to their heirs and beneficiaries.
  • Our firm also guides families through probate disputes, including will contests, accountings, and petitions to remove personal representatives.
  • Trust Administration and Litigation: We offer advice to trustees and legal representation during trust litigation involving disputes such as interpretation of the trust document, beneficiary distributions, and petitions to remove or replace trustees. 
  • Conservatorship/Guardianship: Our firm helps families establish and manage conservatorships and guardianships for minors or family members who cannot manage their affairs. 

Contact us today for an initial case evaluation to discuss what a Farmington probate lawyer can do for you. 

Why Do I Need An Attorney During The Probate Process?

The probate process can become overwhelming and stressful. Hiring an attorney with extensive legal skills in trusts and estates law can help you manage it while also protecting your and your family’s interests.

Choose an attorney you can trust.

For decades, people in Farmington and Michigan have turned to our estate planning lawyers to guide them through probate and estate administration due to our:

  • Personal attention: When you choose us to help with your estate planning or probate case, you can expect to work directly with your attorney throughout your matter. Our attorneys take the time to listen to your story, get to know you and your family, and understand your goals, needs, and concerns. 
  • Flexibility: Our small size allows us to provide the close support our clients deserve and gives us the flexibility to develop unique solutions through our collaborative approach to our clients’ cases. 
  • Efficiency: Our firm works hard to provide clients with practical, tailored legal solutions for their estate planning and probate needs without the additional layers of cost that other larger law firms might impose. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Probate in Farmington

Here are the answers to some of the top questions about the probate process in Michigan.

How does probate work in Farmington and Michigan?

Probate in Michigan is the court-supervised procedure for authenticating a deceased individual’s will, assessing and gathering their assets, settling their outstanding debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining estate to the designated beneficiaries.

The process commences when a petition is filed in a Michigan probate court to recognize the will and appoint an executor, or, in the absence of a will, appoint an administrator to manage the estate’s affairs.

What parts of an estate go through probate?

In Michigan, assets that are solely in the deceased’s name or those that do not have a designated beneficiary undergo the probate process. This typically includes:

  • Real estate owned only by the deceased
  • Personal property like vehicles and jewelry
  • Bank accounts that are solely in the deceased’s name without a payable-on-death (POD) designation

Jointly owned assets, life insurance policies, retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, and assets held in a trust are generally not subject to probate, as they pass directly to the co-owner or designated beneficiary outside the probate process.

How long does the probate process take?

The duration of the probate process can vary significantly from one estate to the next, typically ranging from about six months to a year, depending on the complexity of the estate.

Factors that influence this timeline include the size and complexity of the estate, the clarity of the will and whether anyone contests it, the presence of any debts or taxes owed by the estate, the efficiency of the executor or administrator handling the estate’s affairs, and the quality of any legal representation they have engaged. Disputes among heirs or beneficiaries, challenges to the will, and the discovery of unknown assets can further extend the process.

Simplified procedures are available for smaller estates, potentially shortening the probate duration.

How can I prevent assets from going through probate after my death?

Most assets remaining in your estate at your death must go through probate. However, certain assets do not get probated, such as property you owned in a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, or a tenancy by the entirety or assets in accounts with beneficiary or pay/transfer-on-death designations. Furthermore, you may pass your property to loved ones through a trust to avoid the time and expense of probate. 

Contact Our Farmington Probate Attorneys Today

Managing a deceased loved one’s estate can be a complex process, especially if you have never gone through probate before. Instead of risking delays, errors, and disputes, let the estate planning attorneys at Bingham Legal Group provide you with the advice and advocacy you need to administer the estate effectively and efficiently.

Contact our firm today for a legal consultation to learn how we can guide you through estate planning or estate administration and help you with the challenges or complexities you might face in your matter.