Utica, Michigan Probate Law Attorneys
The way in which an estate is handled after the death of a loved one is critical. Without proper handling, the beneficiaries and heirs may have to pay more estate related expenses than necessary, preventing them from obtaining all of the benefits they would be entitled to receive from the estate. Having represented clients in a wide variety of probate issues for over 34 years, attorneys Douglas Tull and Andre Laubach can advise clients on how to deal with the probate process before it even starts or after it has begun.
Post Death probate?
Generally, Probate is the legal process through which title to assets passes from a decedent to those entitled to the assets either pursuant to a will (a testate estate), or pursuant to statute (an intestate estate). Michigan allows both informal and supervised probate proceedings for decedent’s estates. Informal probate is indicated where an estate’s assets are readily/easily gathered and distributed or sale by the Personal Representative. An attorney’s involvement in informal probate can be kept to a minimum to help to reduce the cost of probate. Supervised probate is the more traditional probate with more active probate court involvement, including court approval of sales of property, accountings and closing of the estate. Naturally, Supervised probate involves greater attorney expense, but it may become necessary in situations where there are disputes about property or about a will, or other disputes that may come up.
In the event that you become incapacitated, are prevented from making your own decisions or cannot communicate, the probate court may be asked by a loved one to appoint a guardian to make medical decisions and a conservator to make financial decisions for you. The courts have to consider your wishes, if they had been previously stated in an estate planning document. However, your best interests guide the court in their appointments. Lifetime probate can be avoided in many instances by an estate plan which includes a Durable Power of Attorney (financial) and a Patient Advocate Designation (medical)
You know far better than the probate court who should be your representative when you are not able to act for yourself. That is why it is so imperative to have an estate plan to address lifetime probate and your choices if that becomes necessary. That is far better than a “fight” among family members or the random appointment by a probate court judge. Having documents in place such as a durable power of attorney (DPOA) and a patient advocate designation (PAD) can avoid problems with Lifetime Probate.
Married with Children
Perhaps the one type of client for whom an estate plan is the most important is a young married couple with minor children. What happens if, god forbid, tragedy strikes and both parents are lost in a common disaster? In the absence of an estate plan, oftentimes Foster Care! Or, if not Foster Care, then a potential fight amongst the surviving families of the young mother and father. Mr. Tull has yet to meet a young married estate planning client with minor children who felt that Foster Care was the best solution if they were unable to care for their minor children. Nor has he met any young parents who prefer a drawn out fight amongst their families (with the potentially resultant bad feelings and estranged relationships) that could happen if the young parents don’t take the time to create their own estate plan and express their wishes for the court to follow. Young parents owe their minor children a far better legacy than such results (Foster Care – Family battles). Young parents also know better than the courts (or their parents or siblings) who they think would be the best choice to care for their minor children if/when they are gone. Don’t let this happen to you. Attorneys Tull and Laubach stand ready to explain how easy it can be to avoid bad or unintended results for estates of married parents with minor children.
Of course, recently divorced parents with minor children have a similar, and perhaps even more compelling reason to sit down and do their estate plan as soon as possible after their marriage is dissolved. The divorced ex-parent would be the legal guardian for the minor children. Most divorcees would not want to put their ex-spouse in charge of their children’s inheritance in such a case. But if a recently divorced parent with minor children does not do anything with their estate plan, that is exactly what could happen. A visit with Attorneys Tull or Laubach can provide peace of mind to complete the divorce process – by helping with an estate plan for young divorcees with minor children.
Contact our office
To learn more about probate and property matters from experienced lawyers Douglas A. Tull and Andre Laubach, please call locally at 586-726-5742, or toll-free at 1-866-TULL-LAW (885-5529), or e-mail our firm. Our office is conveniently located in the heart of Utica, Michigan, at the southwest corner of Hall Road (M-59) and Van Dyke Avenue. (Map and directions ) Evening or weekend hours are available by appointment. Home visits are available for the elderly and those with special needs. Credit cards accepted.