West Michigan probate lawyers have a pretty complex job to do, and it can be even more difficult because of the fact that many people don’t really even know what the probate process is. This isn’t all that surprising, as by the time a person needs probate, it’s because he or she has passed away. That means that someone else needs to be in charge.
Probate is the court process that happens when a deceased person’s estate is administered. There are a lot of steps to the process, which is just one of the reasons that those left behind find it so helpful to work with an experienced probate lawyer. They can help to make sure that these steps are being followed in accordance with the law and to their client’s best advantage.
Different states generally have different probate laws, which is one of the reasons it’s so important for Michiganders to work with an attorney from our state. If the decedent held property in other states, it’s quite likely that an additional probate lawyer from that area will need to be consulted, as well.
A lot of people would prefer to avoid probate altogether, and they may have worked with an estate planning lawyer to try and make this happen. Why would they go to that trouble?
- It can take a very long time for an estate to make it all the way through the probate process.
- Everything revealed in probate becomes public knowledge.
- Probate costs can eat away at the value of an estate.
A good West Michigan probate lawyer will do his or her best to expedite the process, minimize discomfort, and protect assets as much as possible. Perhaps one of his or her most important jobs is simply to talk individuals through this unfamiliar landscape and to help set reasonable expectations for those who haven’t dealt with the process before.
During probate, the courts will name a representative for the decedent and will then charge that person with compiling an inventory of assets. The probate lawyer will be very helpful in figuring out how to do this. Based on current law, the courts will determine how assets are to be distributed, including to pay off debts. If there is a will, this will be taken into consideration. Many folks don’t realized that even if they have a will, the estate will still go through probate.
There are other alternatives in estate planning, however, that can keep an estate out of the process. For those who need it, though, an experienced West Michigan probate lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome.