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Probate & Trust
Simplify the Estate Administration Process with the Support of Our Probate and Trust Attorneys

Probate Attorney & Trust Administration Lawyer in Brighton, MI

Experienced Trust and Probate Lawyers Near You!

When someone passes away, the management of their estate depends on whether they had a will, a trust, or neither. The expert attorneys at Gerkin & Decker are here to help you navigate this complicated process, providing guidance regardless of the presence of a will or trust. 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 estate 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 to administrate their estate. However, the probate process can be avoided if a valid will is properly executed and a 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. The probate court also handles matters concerning conservatorships, guardianship, and trust actions in these cases. To have a smooth transition of the assets, income taxes 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 stressful for the beneficiaries.

Probate and Trust Administration FAQs

When is a legal proceeding necessary to open a probate estate for a decedent?
A probate estate must be opened if a person dies with property solely in their name (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 the probate law?
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 where 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 and estate administrator?
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 by 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.

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

Trust & Probate Attorneys | Brighton, MI | Gerkin & Decker - probate-image-1
  • 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 probate litigation and estate administration.

Probate Process - Key Responsibilities:

A probate and trust administration attorney has several key responsibilities during the probate process. They guide the executor or personal representative through the entire process, helping prepare and file necessary legal documents. The attorney also assists in identifying and valuing the deceased person's assets, including real estate property, financial accounts, investments, and personal property.

Furthermore, the probate attorney facilitates communication among beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors. They notify all parties involved about the probate proceedings and work towards resolving any disputes or claims that may arise. The attorney also helps pay debts, taxes, and final expenses from the estate.

Additionally, the attorney collaborates with accountants and tax professionals to ensure accurate preparation and filing of estate tax returns if inheritance taxes are required. They oversee the distribution of assets to beneficiaries according to the decedent's wishes as outlined in their will or determined by intestacy laws.

In summary, a probate and trust administration attorney provides legal advice crucial in guiding the executor, managing legal paperwork, valuing assets, resolving disputes, and ensuring the proper distribution of assets during the probate process. Their expertise ensures a smooth and efficient administration of the deceased person's estate, providing peace of mind to all parties involved.

Estate Assets & Probate Attorney - Understanding the Connection

An estate assets and probate attorney is crucial in managing a deceased person's estate. They specialize in estate planning documents, handling the legal aspects of estate assets during the probate process.

One important connection between estate assets and a probate lawyer is asset valuation. The attorney assists in determining the value of the estate assets, which impacts asset distribution and estate tax calculations.

Identifying which assets are subject to probate is another key connection. The attorney helps distinguish assets that go through probate from those that pass directly to beneficiaries through other means.

Moreover, the attorney facilitates the transfer of assets to beneficiaries according to the decedent's surviving spouse's wishes or legal requirements, resolving any disputes that may arise.

Additionally, in other estate planning documents, the attorney guides minimizing estate taxes and maximizing asset value for beneficiaries through strategic estate planning techniques.

In summary, an estate assets and probate attorney manages the legal aspects of a deceased person's estate, including the valuation, management, and distribution of assets through the probate process or according to a trust. They ensure that debts and taxes are paid, legal disputes are resolved, and beneficiaries receive their inheritances in compliance with the decedent’s wishes and relevant laws.

Benefits of Hiring a Probate and Trust Administration Attorney

Hiring a probate and trust administration attorney offers several valuable benefits when navigating the complexities of a probate and trust administration.

  • Expertise and Experience: Probate and trust administration attorneys possess specialized knowledge and experience in managing the legal aspects of probate and trust matters. They are well-versed in the applicable laws and procedures, ensuring the process is handled correctly and efficiently.

  • Guidance and Support: An attorney provides guidance and support throughout the probate and trust administration process. They assist in completing the necessary paperwork, filing documents, and meeting deadlines, reducing the burden on the executor or personal representative.

  • Minimizing Errors and Delays: With their expertise, attorneys help minimize errors and avoid potential delays in the probate and trust administration process. Their attention to detail ensures that all legal requirements are met, reducing the risk of complications or disputes down the line.

  • Asset Protection and Distribution: An attorney ensures proper asset valuation, protection, and distribution according to the decedent's wishes or applicable laws. They help navigate complex asset distribution scenarios, including handling trusts, joint accounts, and beneficiary designations.

  • Conflict Resolution: In cases where conflicts or disputes arise among beneficiaries, an attorney acts as a mediator and advocate, working towards fair and amicable resolutions. They help minimize family tensions and protect the interests of all parties involved.

  • Estate Tax Planning: Probate and trust administration attorneys offer valuable guidance on estate tax planning strategies. They can help structure the estate to minimize tax liabilities, maximize available deductions, and preserve more assets for beneficiaries.

By hiring a probate and trust administration attorney, you can confidently navigate the probate process, ensuring that the estate administration is conducted smoothly, efficiently, and in compliance with all legal requirements.

To learn how Gerkin & Decker, P.C. can effectively administer your trust and probate in Brighton, Hartland, 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.

Get in Touch With Our Team

When facing legal challenges, choose a law firm that truly understands the importance of community support. At Gerkin & Decker, our deep roots in Livingston County reflect our dedication to serving the hardworking people of our area. Whether you need assistance with civil issues, estate planning, probate, or business matters, we offer a practical and honest approach to every case. Experience personalized legal solutions with the integrity and dedication you deserve from a trusted local firm. Contact Gerkin & Decker today for clear guidance and reliable legal advice.

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