It is the Probate Court's responsibility to ensure the probate assets are collected, maintained, and distributed among the decedent's heirs, beneficiaries, and/or creditors according to the direction of the decedent as expressed through a will and the laws of Michigan. This process is known as the administration of a decedent's estate. Good legal advice and guidance can expedite the probate process, prevent costly errors, and protect against being sued.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal process to settle your financial and other affairs after your death. If you leave a will, probate determines whether the will is valid. Probate provides for the appointment of a personal representative to gather your property, pay your bills, and distribute what’s left according to your will or the law. There are different kinds of probate depending on how much court supervision is required.
How much will it cost?
Court fees are typically $150. An inventory fee depends on the value of property involved. Attorney fees vary, depending on how complicated the case may be. At Cotner Law Office, we typically provide an estimate of attorney and other fees at the first meeting with a client.
How long will it take?
Probate usually takes at least seven months but could take longer, especially if the will is contested. An uncontested case does not require much involvement for the personal representative.
Are all of the descendent's assets subject to the probate process?
No. Jointly owned property, like bank accounts or real estate, may pass outside of probate. Insurance contracts usually provide for payment to beneficaries outside probate. Property owned by a trust or corporation does not go through probate. There are also laws that permit relatively low value items such as vehicles and boats to pass outside of probate.
What Should I Bring To The First Meeting?