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Insightful Answers To FAQs About Probate

Estate planning includes a few steps. And when a will has been created, this legal document, ultimately, must go through the probate process. An experienced estate planning attorney can guide your family through probate. Abbott, Thomson, Mauldin, Parker, Beer & Rick, P.L.C., in Jackson, Michigan, is a team of attorneys with decades of experience.

We are prepared to collaborate with you and resolve any legal matters stemming from probate. Many clients have questions about probate. We listen to them and provide invaluable insight. Here are some answers to some of the more frequently asked questions regarding probate:

Q: What happens during the probate process?

A: The will must be authenticated by the executor. Among some of the details required in validating a will are that the document must be signed by the decedent, and it must be signed by a certain number of witnesses. The executor also provides the court a definitive list of the decedent’s assets and debts. The judge then orders the executor to do a number of things, including determining the value of the assets, paying any outstanding debt and taxes from the estate, settling disputes among heirs and then distributing the estate. If an executor has not been named, the court appoints one.

Q: How can an attorney help in the probate process?

A: An attorney provides crucial advice to the estate’s executors, estate representatives and beneficiaries. A skilled estate planning lawyer will assist in many tasks, including obtaining property appraisals, selling property, paying outstanding bills and taxes, and distributing assets to the heirs.

Q: Is it a good idea to try to avoid probate?

A: Probate is a time-consuming process that may take up to a year to conclude. And it can be costly. In resolving the estate, the will must be validated as those involved take a deep dive into the details. In addition, issues must be resolved. This takes time, and some participants may declare that the probate process is stressful. If you want to avoid the probate process, you may consider creating a trust. Trusts can save time, money and, unlike wills, are not a matter of the public record.

Q: What happens if a will is not valid?

A: A will can be challenged and declared invalid for a number of reasons, including fraud, forgery, undue influence from others and if the legal document was not properly executed. If a will is invalid, the estate may be distributed based on the most recent valid will. However, it is most likely that an estate’s assets may be distributed according to Michigan’s intestacy law. The result: Your closest relatives will get your estate.

Our attorneys are reliable and responsive. We will put you at ease and work together to complete the probate process.

Contact A Skilled Attorney Now

The experienced and effective attorneys of Abbott, Thomson, Mauldin, Parker, Beer & Rick, P.L.C., in Jackson, Michigan, are ready to answer your questions related to the probate process. For decades, we have guided clients throughout south-central Michigan. For a free initial consultation, contact us via this intake form or by calling 517-787-8570.