The death of a loved one can be a difficult time for any Michigan family. Everything involved, from planning a funeral to settling an estate, can be daunting. When considering what you need to do in order to resolve the affairs of the deceased and finalize estate matters, it can be helpful to learn what you should expect from the probate process.
The probate process is the court-supervised process of taking care of all things related to settling an estate, such as paying remaining debts and distributing assets as outlined in the will. A person can name someone specific to act as the executor of his or her estate, but if not, the court will name a person to act in this capacity. Every probate process is different, and the amount of time it will take to complete it depends on the details of the individual situation.
Steps in the process
If you are the executor of the estate, you have the responsibility of going through the probate process and following the appropriate steps. This can be a complex undertaking, and it can help tremendously to know what to expect. This starts with you taking the will to the appropriate probate court, after which some of the following steps will happen:
- Proving the validity of the will
- Finding and notifying all beneficiaries
- Issuing of specific documents
- Giving notice to creditors with an interest in the estate
- Inventorying and appraising estate assets
- Paying remaining debts and bills
- Distributing assets to appropriate heirs
The probate process can stretch on for months, even years. This is particularly true in cases where there are complications, such as disagreements on the validity of the will or inability to locate beneficiaries. There are certain fees associated with this process, but you will receive compensation for the time and effort you spent as executor.
You do not have to experience it alone
The probate process is not easy, but you do not have to work through it alone. An experienced Michigan attorney knowledgeable in estate matters and familiar with the probate laws of the state can serve as your ally during this entire process. Having support may mean that you will be able to avoid certain missteps and errors that can lengthen the process.
Before you begin the probate process or take steps to settle the estate of a loved one, you may want to seek an evaluation of your case in order to learn what you should expect from your specific situation.