Probate

Probate 2018-02-06T16:59:50+00:00

ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

When a loved one dies, family members must deal with the unique financial, emotional, and legal challenges to come to a complete resolution. Grief can heighten tensions between family members when they disagree about who should receive what property. Our law firm can help you navigate through the probate process and often help families come to agreement that amicably divides estate assets while preserving family relationships.

What is the value of the assets? How do you know they are distributed in accordance with your loved one’s wishes? How are debts handled, especially if a bill appears questionable? Probate law for estate administration can be complex. Our law firm will ensure that you comply with Michigan law, settle legitimate debts, distribute assets, and meet court filing and accounting deadlines. Whether your loved one dies with or without an estate plan, we can advise you and protect your interests under the law.

Trusts are often designed to be administered outside of probate court. Our law firm can assist a Trustee or interested person in the administration of a Trust. This could include bringing the Trust under probate court supervision, especially if there is a dispute. This can help protect our client’s interests depending on the situation.

It is not uncommon for family members and other interested parties disagree during the probate process. Our law firm has helped countless individuals and families through probate and trust disputes. In many situations, we assist clients in resolving disputes cost-effectively, quickly, and privately through alternative dispute resolution processes, including mediation and collaborative law. We also have extensive experience in probate litigation and will provide smart and relentless representation at trial if that is the best way to protect your interests.

Contested matters that our law firm handles include:

  • Will contests
  • Trust litigation
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorships
  • Appointment of a personal representative
  • Surcharge actions
  • Contract disputes
  • Title disputes
  • Business succession

GUARDIANSHIPS & CONSERVATORSHIPS

A proper estate plan’s goals are to avoid disputes and probate court intervention, but sometimes the decision to plan comes too late. What if you or your loved one loses legal capacity and doesn’t have a power of attorney or health care power of attorney? Probate court must become involved to protect the well-being and assets of that incapacitated individual.

Individuals are considered incapacitated by the court when they are under the age of 18, developmentally disabled, or become unable to make their decisions due to an illness or a mental defect by law. We help families where minor family members’ parents die or when both parents cannot care for them, a loved one with special needs that meets the legal standard, and those who have lost legal capacity due to a progressive condition or an accident.

Our law firm is often approached by a loved one’s family member asking that we be retained to place that person as a guardian and conservator for a parent or other family member. If a loved one may now or in the future need assistance with management of assets or activities of daily living, feel free to contact us.

Because loss of legal capacity can be progressive, many families approach our office in advance while an elderly family member is still able to help in making the decision regarding appointment of a guardian or conservator. If you or a loved one have a progressive condition, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, now is the time to contact us and designate your chosen representatives.

Conservatorship

If a probate judge rules that an individual is incapacitated and has assets that will be dissipated or wasted without proper management, the judge will appoint a conservator to manage his or her assets. The court conducts an annual review of the management of the funds and it is important that the court-appointed conservator comply with Michigan law and fulfill all required duties.

Guardianship

A court-appointed guardian is responsible for making decisions regarding an incapacitated person’s care and living conditions. Some people need nominal care, such as a guardian to organizing medical appointments and ensuring that the living situation meets the correct standards. Others require more constant and direct supervision, in which case a guardian is responsible placement and supervising care in a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or a home setting.