When you go to create an estate plan or will in Michigan, you may realize that there are important questions to ask that you never thought about. For example, who cares for your children if something happens to you while they are minors? Who gets the family pets if you die? Who is in charge of executing your wishes? These are all things that should be addressed when creating your will and another thing you need to understand is probate.

The American Bar Association defines probate as a formal legal process recognizing a will and appointing a personal representative or executor to distribute assets and administer the estate. Some people avoid probate by transferring all their assets to a living trust, and you may often hear about the benefits of avoiding probate, but is this always the best route to take? Perhaps more important than limiting probate is addressing any issue that may delay probate, such as lawsuits.

Probate can significantly decrease the amount of time that creditors can file claims against your estate. This time frame can decrease down to four months from almost a year, meaning creditors must quickly file. It can also be valuable if a person rejects the entirety of the will or even aspects of it. If a personal representative you have chosen does not handle your assets property or fails to pay any claims on your property, the courts can remove them during the probate process.

With probate, the court must approve any fees taken by a personal representative and the executor is limited in what they can do. Probate can give more control to the courts if you are concerned about creditors filing claims against your estate or you are unsure about the integrity or ability of the executor.

This information is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.