Kalamazoo Estate Administration Lawyers

Estate Administration in Michigan

Losing a family member is difficult under any circumstances. If you have been left to manage the assets of an estate you bear an additional burden. Estate administration can be highly complex, adding additional stress during an already difficult time. After the loss of a loved one, you need competent counsel to guide you through the complex process of administering your loved one's estate.

Estate administration, sometimes including probate, is the legal process of settling the affairs of an estate after a person's death. It includes paying off estate or trust debts, winding up businesses and transferring remaining estate or trust properties into the hands of beneficiaries.

At Willis Law, we represent individuals and fiduciaries throughout the estate administration process. Our estate administration attorneys will also act in the capacity of trustee and personal representative for your estate, if you choose.

Looking for expert estate administration? In Michigan, our Kalamazoo Estate Administration Lawyers provide guidance for complex processes after a loved one's passing. Ask for a consultation to protect and distribute assets properly. Contact Willis Law online or call (888) 461-7744.

Protecting Estate Assets in Michigan and Wherever Else They Are Held

We provide full-service representation to families who need assistance with estate administration. We counsel fiduciaries about their obligations and rights during the process and also settle issues related to the following:

  • Settling the estate to maximize the property available to beneficiaries
  • Administration of large, complex estate plans
  • Counsel related to federal estate tax return and performing postmortem tax planning

What Assets Can Avoid the Probate Process?

Generally, the following types of property often need not be transferred:

  • Jointly owned property (e.g., joint bank accounts and other property owned in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship)
  • Life insurance policies
  • Pension benefits, IRAs and other retirement accounts
  • Properties owned by a revocable trust
  • Motor vehicles with combined values that do not exceed $60,000
  • Watercraft with combined values that do not exceed $100,000
  • Cash up to $500
  • Unpaid wages from an employer
  • Personal property with a value less than $22,000

Unsupervised vs. Supervised Administration

Michigan estates that are not classified as small estates will generally undergo one of the two types of probate administration: unsupervised administration and supervised administration.

  • Unsupervised Administration: The court takes a very hands-off approach and thus much is left primarily in the control of the personal representative of the estate. In this type of administration, the court's involvement in the probate process is generally limited to the beginning and the end of the proceedings. 
  • Supervised Administration: The court's role is a much more active. In this administration type, the personal representative's actions are subject to required court review and approval. 

Wills And Probate Administration Type

Many different things can impact what the probate process will be like for a given estate. In Michigan, wills can contain terms specifying whether an estate is to undergo supervised or unsupervised administration, and courts are generally to follow such terms. 

Courts are allowed, however, to deviate from such terms under certain circumstances. When a will term specifies that an estate should be put into unsupervised administration, a court can instead order the estate into supervised administration if it finds that doing so is necessary to ensure that individuals with an interest in the estate are protected. When a will term directs an estate to go into supervised administration, a court can instead direct the estate to go into unsupervised administration if it finds that court supervision isn't needed and that there has been a circumstance change regarding the need for supervision since the will that contained the term was executed.

What terms a will contains not only can direct how assets will be divided, but also can have major impacts on the overall probate process for a person's estate. Given the many different things will terms can impact, having your will have the right terms for the accomplishment of the goals of your estate plan is vital. Estate planning attorneys can help individuals draft wills tailored to their specific needs and wishes.

Choose Our Estate Administration Attorneys in Kalamazoo

Whether an estate plan is clear and concise or there are significant assets not defined in a will, we can work with you to make sure the state cannot seize property that rightfully belongs to beneficiaries. We have a thorough understanding of estate and probate laws and will work to protect your rights throughout the estate administration process.

To learn more about our estate administration services, contact us by dialing (888) 461-7744 for a free initial consultation. Willis Law has offices located in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Paw Paw.

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