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Probate Proceedings

Probate: Court Administration of an Estate

Probate refers to the administration of your estate in the courts. Probate proceedings can be required in the following situations:

  • Court order(s) required to transfer estate assets/accounts.
  • Court order(s) required to transfer or sell real estate.
  • There is no will and heirs need to be identified.
  • The estate plan is contested by an interested party.
  • The will requires probate administration for any reason.
  • Misconduct by a fiduciary, e.g., personal representative.
  • A guardian, conservator or trustee needs to be appointed.

Probate does not have to be a complicated process. Contact ABDO LAW if you need professional care by Macomb County Estate Planning Lawyers to get the affairs of a loved one in order. We will gladly meet with the family members of the deceased to explain the probate process and help you get organized.

Probate Order Necessary to Transfer Asset(s), List Real Estate

In some cases, an estate does not provide for the private transfer of assets or real estate outside of the probate process. Even if there is a will and all of the parties agree on distribution of the estate, there are many scenarios where probate court proceedings are required to transfer the assets or real estate of a deceased individual. Here are a few examples when the probate proceedings are necessary to effectuate transfers and distributions of property:

  • Real estate or any other asset that does not have a surviving owner or beneficiary and has not been placed in a living trust.
  • Bank accounts/brokerage accounts that do not have a surviving owner or beneficiary and has not been placed in a living trust.
  • Life insurance which does not have a surviving beneficiary.
  • Any jointly held property where there are no remaining survivors.

In most cases, ABDO LAW is able to get court orders within a matter of days that allow the personal representative to transfer bank accounts and real estate.

Role of the Personal Representative

The probate court will appoint an individual to act as personal representative on behalf of an estate. The appointment can be made based upon the personal representative named in the will, by the agreement of interested parties or by court order after a hearing. The personal representative is a fiduciary of the estate and works with the estate’s attorney and tax advisor to wind up the estate. The tasks of a personal representative consist of the following:

  • Retaining an attorney and tax advisor.
  • Maintaining real estate and keeping it insured.
  • Keeping vehicles insured.
  • Paying taxes and filing tax returns.
  • Settling lawsuits and debts.
  • Maintaining expense summary.
  • Filing accounting and inventory with court.
  • Transferring or listing real estate for sale.
  • Obtaining appraisals for court or tax purposes.
  • Winding up and closing the estate.

The personal representative of an estate is entitled to reasonable compensation and reimbursement for out of pocket expenses (copies, postage, mileage).

How are Creditors Notified to File Claims?

After an estate is filed with the court, the attorney for the estate will arrange for an official legal publication which will constitute notice to creditors and the public at large that an estate has been filed. In Michigan, creditors are given a window of 4 months after the date of publication to file a claim or be forever barred from doing so. During the pendency of an estate, an attorney will advise the personal representative not to make any substantial distributions of the estate proceeds until after 4 months have elapsed. An attorney can advise you as to whether certain assets are out of the reach of creditors, e.g., life insurance and jointly held property.

Openly Discuss Sensitive Topics with our Macomb Probate lawyers

Reach out to ABDO LAW if you need the services of a Macomb County law firm for probate proceedings in Macomb County. Initially, we prefer to meet with the entire family and offer our guidance and can approach sensitive topics that may need immediate attention. We will also give you a plan to keep the bills and expenses paid, maintain insurance on property, protect collectibles and locate bank/brokerage accounts.

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