Probate Attorney & Trust Administration Lawyer in Brighton, MI.

Experienced Probate and Trust Administration Attorney Near You!

Probate Attorney & Trust Administration Lawyer | Brighton, MI | Gerkin & Decker P.C. - iStock_000060622168_SmallUpon an individual's death, their estate must be administered by a Probate Attorney, or if a trust is in place, by a Trust Administration Lawyer in Brighton, MI. This process generally involves gathering the estate's assets, managing them, paying off debts, and distributing the remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries. The complexity of the task varies from individual to individual.

Suppose an individual passes away without a will or any estate planning. In that case, the assistance and guidance of the probate court will be necessary for the administration of their estate. However, the probate process can be avoided if a properly executed and funded trust is in place at the time of death. Regardless, proper estate planning can usually limit court intervention and/or simplify the probate and trust administration processes, which is where the service of a Trust Administration Lawyer in Brighton, MI comes in.

Sometimes, court proceedings are unavoidable, and a Probate Attorney must navigate the legal process. In these cases, the probate court also handles matters concerning conservatorships, guardianships, and trust actions. To have a smooth transition of the assets and legacies of an individual, it is important to have a well-crafted estate plan. With the guidance of a Trust Administration Lawyer in Brighton, MI, and a Probate Attorney, the process can be less complicated and less stressful for the beneficiaries.

Regardless of the Type of Estate Administration, Gerkin & Decker Can Assist You With:

  • Determining the appropriate course of action after an individual has died
  • Locating assets and preparing estate inventories
  • Obtaining asset appraisals
  • Filing the will with the probate court, if necessary
  • Petitioning the probate court for appointment of a personal representative, if necessary
  • Identifying and notifying beneficiaries and creditors
  • Collecting monies owed to the estate and paying debts and taxes
  • Administering the probate or trust assets
  • Properly distributing assets to the appropriate beneficiaries
  • Contesting wills and trusts
  • Fiduciary and beneficiary disputes
  • Conservatorships and guardianships

Gerkin & Decker prides itself on helping individuals through the often-confusing probate and trust administration process. Call us today to learn how we can help you navigate the complexities of an estate administration.

Probate and Trust Administration FAQs

When is it necessary to open a probate estate for a decedent?

A probate estate must be opened if a person dies with property in his or her name alone (not joint), owns an insurance policy or retirement benefits has not named anyone as a beneficiary, or has made the money payable to the estate.

Does a Last Will and Testament avoid probate?

No. Without additional estate planning, a will does not avoid probate if the decedent dies while owning assets solely in his or her name.

In which county do I file to open a probate estate?

A petitioner would file a decedent's estate in the county in which the decedent was domiciled (usually, this is where the decedent lived) at the time of death. If the decedent was domiciled outside of Michigan but had property in Michigan, the petitioner may file an estate in the county where the decedent’s property was located at the time of death.

When can I begin acting on behalf of a probate estate?

You cannot act on behalf of the estate until you have been appointed personal representative (either formally or informally) and have received your Letters of Authority from the probate court. Letters of Authority give the personal representative the right to act on behalf of the estate and to perform the necessary actions to administer the estate.

Can I receive payment for serving as a personal representative or successor trustee?

Yes. The amount must be reasonable and is subject to review by the court. The fees cannot be taken until the administration of the estate is completed.

Can I hire professionals to help me administer the estate?

Yes. You can use attorneys, accountants, investment advisors, or other professionals to help assist in estate administration. The fees of these professionals are subject to review of the court, and if reasonable, can be paid from the estate. Even if you hire experts, such as a personal representative or successor trustee, you are still responsible for the estate’s administration.

If I establish trust, don’t I still need to appoint an executor of my estate?

If you establish a revocable living trust, you will be appointing a Successor Trustee to administer your trust estate after your death. A Successor Trustee essentially performs the same function as what many people commonly refer to as an “Executor” of an estate. A significant difference is that the Successor Trustee will typically not have to undergo any court proceeding to accomplish your goals.

To learn how Gerkin & Decker, P.C. can effectively administer your trust and probate in Brighton, Chelsea, Howell, Fowlerville, Fenton, and the surrounding areas, call us at (810) 222-6424. You can speak directly to an attorney and understand your rights before you make a decision.


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