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Steps involved in estate administration and probate

Very few people in Michigan pass away after having resolved all of their financial issues. In most cases, they leave behind bills to pay, taxes and perhaps other debt. Additionally, they may have assets, the documentation of which might be scattered in various places. Estate administration and probate are essential for bringing those issues to closure. While some may think probate is something to avoid, in many circumstances, it is necessary to bring a fair resolution to one's unfinished business.

The first step in probate is to confirm that the deceased's will is authentic and valid, if a will exists. A probate judge will appoint someone to represent the estate and to see the process through to its conclusion. The deceased may have designated someone in his or her will to take on the role of executor. This person's primary duty will be to protect the assets throughout probate and to distribute them appropriately after all debts have been paid.

The executor will also be responsible for notifying the creditors of the decedent and paying any bills outstanding. This may require determining if the requests for payment are valid. Additionally, the executor will pay the decedent's final income tax and any other taxes owed. It may be necessary to sell some of the decedent's assets to satisfy creditors. After the deadline passes for creditors to make their claims against the estate, the representative may then be in a position to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.

While it may sound simple to list the responsibilities involved in estate administration and probate, the process is often time-consuming and complex. Having sound legal advice throughout the process may relieve a representative of much of the frustration involved. A Michigan estate planning attorney will provide effective guidance for those seeking assistance with probate issues.

Source: thebalance.com, "Learn What Happens During Probate", Julie Garber, Accessed on June 25, 2017

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