In order to avoid the extra time and expense often associated with probate in Michigan, it is important to understand state probate laws.
First, probate does not always have to be a dirty word. An estate might be created with trusts that keep the majority of assets out of probate, with a contingency for a pour-over will. A pour-over will generally call for any leftover property to be transferred into a trust. Although it must go through probate, the process is much simpler if the estate only has a small amount of probate property.
An expedited process, called summary administration, is also available for smaller estates valued under $22,000. That begs the question of whether non-probate assets are included when valuing an estate. Generally speaking, there is a distinction between one’s taxable estate and one’s probate estate. For the former, some non-probate assets may be included when determining the potential estate tax liability of an estate. Assets held in some types of trusts, such as an irrevocable life insurance trust, might avoid estate tax.
Yet probate does not have to be feared. Provided that an individual has created a comprehensive plan, probate might be relied upon just to tie up any loose ends. Since the principal of trust must contain only that property which has been specifically titled to it, there’s a chance that an asset might slip through the cracks. On the other hand, probate might be unnecessary if an estate has no probate assets. Our estate planning law firm can help explain the multitude of options available to you.
Source: FindLaw, “Michigan Probate Laws,” copyright 2016, Thomson Reuters