What you need to know about probate

In Michigan, legal ownership of your property and assets must go through a process after your death to make sure that any unfinished business such as debt is taken care of, and your possessions are distributed to those who you have named. Your will can designate how you want your estate handled, but it does not typically sidestep probate. At the Bingham Legal Group PC, our estate planning attorneys understand what is involved, and we often provide answers to help people anticipate and plan for this eventuality.

Findlaw explains that the executor of your will is the person you chose to take care of your affairs. His or her responsibilities include the following:

  •          Inventorying your property
  •          Paying your estate’s debts, claims and taxes, as well as court costs and attorney’s fees
  •          Settling disputes
  •          Distributing the remaining assets to your beneficiaries

Disputes may arise because of creditors making claims on your property, but these must be made during probate, or they may forfeit their right to settle the issue. You may eliminate any likelihood of your will being contested by speaking to your family members ahead of time and making your wishes clear. If someone does contest something, it will typically be during the probate process.

If you do not leave a will, your estate still has to go through probate. Instead of having the duties fulfilled by someone you know and trust, though, the court will choose an administrator. More information about Michigan probate laws is available on our webpage.