How Long is Probate in Michigan?
If a person dies without a will or a comprehensive estate plan, Michigan’s probate laws will determine how their estate will be distributed to the descendants. The probate process can be complex, lengthy, confusing, and stressful, especially without the guidance of skilled Bloomfield Hills business and estate planning lawyers.
The process entails the following steps:
- Appointing a personal representative to settle the estate
- Taking stock of the assets in the estate to distribute them to the heirs
- Settling outstanding debts, taxes, and funeral expenses
- Dividing the remaining property among the beneficiaries according to the decedent’s wishes or Michigan Law if the decedent dies intestate
- Closing the estate.
The process can last between weeks, or several months, or more, depending on the nature of the estate, the amount and accessibility of the assets involved, and whether the case is contested. Generally, most probate cases take about six months, with some contested cases dragging on for as long as one year or more.
What Factors Affect Probate in Michigan?
There are various factors that determine how long the probate process takes:
Type of Probate
Michigan law recognizes various forms of probate, and the type a decedent’s estate qualifies for depends on multiple factors. These include the estate’s monetary value and whether there’s an estate plan:
- Formal probate: It is used for large or complex or contested estates in which multiple parties have an interest. The process can be supervised or unsupervised depending on the level of oversight required.
- Informal probate: The process is less time-consuming and costly and can be completed before a probate registrar.
- Small estate probate: Estates valued below $22,000, as adjusted for inflation, can be probated at the request of the surviving spouse or heir, while those above $22,000 must undergo a supervised probate process.
Asset Inventory and Valuation
All items in a probate estate must be included in the estate property inventory as part of the probate process. The inventory process can be complex if the estate has considerable complex assets. Preparation and valuation can be time-consuming, increasing the time to complete probate.
Estate Size, Debts, and Taxes
Preparation of estate tax returns, disputes over the amount of liability owed by the decedent, and the size and nature of the estate can dramatically affect how long probate takes. Smaller estates with fewer assets and debts often take less time to distribute. Contested probate also prolongs the process compared to when all the interested parties agree.
Why Work with a Probate Attorney in Michigan?
If you need to go through probate to distribute a loved one’s estate, retaining knowledgeable probate lawyers in the state where the decedent lived and owned real estate is highly recommended. The input of an attorney can speed up the legal process and help you avoid pitfalls that would further complicate the process.
Kendal Law Group, skilled probate attorneys can oversee the following steps, using their knowledge and experience to help you administer the estate effectively and within the shortest time possible:
We Can Support The Heirs
As an heir, you may not understand the probate process or why you must go through it to inherit your loved one’s property. Skilled Bloomfield Hills probate lawyers can provide legal guidance and counsel to reduce the confusion.
They can also help you prepare for the process so that you’re well-informed about your obligations and rights. Having information about probate can reduce the time it takes by reducing conflict with other interested parties.
We will Guide the Personal Representative
If you’ve been appointed the personal representative, you may have many questions regarding your role and how to fulfill your responsibilities. Kendal Law Group can help you with court filings, debt settlement, estate valuation, and releasing inheritance. They can help you negotiate the legal process quicker than if you go through it alone.
Through the legal guidance of probate attorneys in Michigan, you can avoid some of the pitfalls that can leave you open to various legal risks and consequences, such as the following:
- Distributing assets too early before settling other obligations
- Failure to manage estate assets to ensure the best return and prevent loss
- Failure to advertise the estate to give sufficient notice to creditors
- Failure to close the estate after paying the debts and taxes and distributing the assets
We provide Legal Counsel and Representation
While having an attorney for all probate matters is not a legal requirement, it’s essential for legal support and to err on the side of caution. Some situations where the assistance of a probate attorney is crucial are:
- Death without an estate plan
- Disputes over trusts
- Challenges over Wills
- Dealing with creditor claims
Experienced probate attorneys can help you navigate these issues in the probate court. They can work to protect your rights, especially if you need help figuring out what to do when the legal process is marked with challenges due to conflicting interests.
An Experienced Probate Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Probate Delays
The probate process can be lengthy, confusing, and complex because of the laws surrounding the process. If you just lost a loved one, you may not even be in the right state mentally and emotionally to go through the process, a factor that could further complicate the process. The legal counsel and representation of probate lawyers in Bloomfield Hills can make the process easier.
Business and estate planning attorneys in Bloomfield Hills understand how probate works. They can evaluate your case and advise on what to expect, what to do, and what to avoid to avoid probate delays. Kendal Law Group probate lawyers are dedicated to protecting clients’ rights after losing loved ones. Call us at 248-609-1718 to schedule a FREE case assessment.