Estate Planning And Probate Attorneys Who Can Help
Planning for the security of your spouse and children after you’re gone is a sign of your love and concern. Too many people get caught up in the idea that an estate plan is only for the obscenely wealthy, those who have multiple homes and millions of assets that they need to protect. The reality is, anyone with assets can benefit from developing an estate plan. When you prepare a will or a trust, when you communicate your wishes about medical treatment and end-of-life care, you spare your family from difficult decisions during stressful times.
Whether you have a 401(k), a home, or even just a simple savings account, you should be thinking about how your assets will be distributed should an unexpected tragedy occur. To make sure your assets don’t get tied up in legal proceedings that can take years to resolve and lead to bitterness and resentment, turn to the estate planning lawyers at Gormley Law Offices, PLC, to begin the process of preparing your estate plan or administering an estate through probate. With offices in Howell and Fowlerville, we serve clients in Brighton, East Lansing, Lansing and across Michigan. When you contact us, we can walk you through the process and prepare complete, accurate paperwork, including:
- Legal wills and trusts
- Trust administration, including how to challenge trusts
- Medical powers of attorney (“living wills”)
- Durable powers of attorney (finances)
- Succession planning for small-business owners
- Premarital agreements for families with significant assets or couples entering a second or subsequent marriage
- Conservatorships to allow you to handle an aged parent’s financial affairs
- Guardianships to allow you to make medical and other decisions for an elder or disabled family member
Whatever steps are taken, it should be noted that it’s imperative to stay on top of your estate plan. Keep your will up-to-date, make sure your beneficiaries are chosen carefully and don’t let major life events go unaddressed if they relate to your estate plan.
Reasons to have a current and updated estate plan
Making sure your wealth is protected in case of an accident or other tragic event is still key. Most people should still be careful and mindful of how their wealth will be distributed after their passing. Without a current estate plan, your loved ones can become embroiled in long and contentious processes to inherit your property.
The new laws are a good reason to check in and make sure your plan is up-to-date. It also provides an opportunity to simplify it if possible. Even though the new law will sunset in 2025, you can still explore what options are available to you now.
Your Guide Through The Probate Process
After a loved one dies in Michigan, his or her estate goes into probate. Probate is the legal process involving the administration of a person’s estate after the person dies and recognizing the validity of a will and distributing the property according to the wishes of the deceased. If there is not a will, this process can help with ensuring assets are properly distributed and any other issues are cleared up. Some cases can be simple; others are quite complex.
Probate involves opening a court case and appointing a personal representative to administer the payment of creditors, decide issues, and distribute property to heirs or beneficiaries of the deceased person. This can be a complicated process that many people are completely unprepared for when confronted with these situations. While Michigan law is utilized in all probate courts statewide, the exact process can differ depending on the court or the judge assigned to the case when it is opened. Judges’ procedures vary from county to county.
In most cases, probate is not a long process. As long as there is nobody contesting the will and it can easily be deemed valid, the court is minimally involved. Sometimes the process is streamlined for simple estates so it moves along very fast. It may not even be required for an estate to go through probate. For example, if your husband dies and leaves everything to you, then probate may not be required because state law already says that you get all assets of your husband’s.
Regardless, if your loved one’s estate goes to probate, there is usually little to worry about it. The process will probably go smoothly with little issue. It will not drag on in most cases. The only time there is concern about that is when someone contests the will, which is a difficult process on its own, or if the estate is large and complex.
Our experienced attorneys are prepared to guide you through the probate process as expediently and effectively as possible.