Estate Planning Lawyer in Chesterfield
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Chesterfield Probate Lawyers

Guidance Through Probate & Estate Matters

Probate is often a confusing topic for many people. After a family member dies, either a will or Michigan probate law determines how the person’s property and assets will be divided and distributed. Our Chesterfield probate attorneys can further explain this process, your legal duties and options, and how beneficiaries can most efficiently close their family member’s estate.

To learn more about our probate services, contact us at (586) 690-4400.

The Probate Process in Michigan

Michigan state law offers several different options for handing probate depending on the estate assets and other documents involved. These include the following:

  • Unsupervised Administration: This is the most common legal process for administrating an estate with significant assets such as real estate. This typically requires no court hearings, however if the process is in any way contested a probate judge can oversee the process.
  • Supervised Administration: In this form of probate, the court supervises the entire process. The representative of the estate submits documents to the probate judge for review.
  • Small Estate: If the estate contains few assets, the involved parties can go through a simpler process such as submitting a petition with a filing fee.

At Penzien & Mcbride, we can look at your individual situation to determine with form of probate will work best for your estate.

What Happens When You Die Without a Will in Michigan?

When someone dies without a will, their estate is considered intestate. Michigan's intestacy laws will determine how assets are distributed to beneficiaries. In addition, an estate representative is assigned by the courts.

Michigan intestate succession law proceeds as follows:

  • Surviving children but no spouse - Children inherit full estate
  • Surviving spouse but no children or parents - Spouse inherits full estate
  • Surviving spouse and children - Spouse inherits first $150,000 of estate plus half of the balance, children inherit the rest
  • Surviving spouse and parents - Spouse inherits first $150,000 of estate plus 3/4ths of the balance, parents inherit the rest
  • Surviving parents but no spouse or children - Parents inherit full estate
  • Surviving siblings but no spouse, decedents, or parents - Siblings inherit full estate

Importantly, the only assets that pass through intestacy succession are those that would have been passed by a will. Property held in a trust, owned with joint tenancy, and anything else that bypasses the probate process will be passed as directed.

Resolving Probate Litigation Matters

We can represent the estate, an heir, a trustee, or a beneficiary in the resolution of any probate claim. Our years of experience can help resolve your dispute in an efficient and sensitive manner, whether the dispute involves a will contest, the status of an heir, the appraised value of a given asset, ERISA litigation, or a claim of breach of fiduciary duty against a personal representative or trustee.

Guardianship & Conservatorship

Guardianship and conservatorship documents filed in court provide protection for vulnerable and incapacitated adults and minor children. We represent both people proposing a guardianship and those who oppose the appointment of a particular guardian in cases concerning the protection of:

  • Very elderly individuals
  • Incapacitated persons
  • Developmentally disabled minors who have reached adulthood
  • Minor children who inherit substantial property in their own name.

We will guide you through the guardianship or conservatorship process to ensure that your family member’s well-being, health, and finances are protected. We can also assist you with reporting duties, annual review, and renewal of guardian or conservator appointments.

For help with resolvinga will contest, setting up a guardianship, or any other probate legal matter, call Penzien & McBride today at (586) 690-4400.

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