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Kent and Muskegon County Probate Lawyers Don’t Like Surprises

Eyestone Law Offices estate planning surprisesSure, the typical probate lawyer in Kent and Muskegon County might like a surprise birthday party or an unexpected bit of good news, but when it comes to probate, the fewer surprises, the better. One of the main purposes of estate planning, after all, is to detail how an individual would like for things to proceed after his or her death.

Probate is the process an estate goes through to divide and distribute a decedent’s property. The first goal of a Kent and Muskegon County probate lawyer is to make sure that the estate is administered according to the wishes of the deceased. These wishes are usually made clear in a will or through a trust. Additionally, however, the probate process is also important in that it makes sure that the wishes outlined in the will meet legal standards.

While probate lawyers in Kent and Muskegon County will encourage their clients to discuss the provisions of their will or trust with those affected by it, there are plenty of unfortunate circumstances that keep people from doing so. Oftentimes, this is where the probate lawyer will see the biggest surprises. For example, a spouse or adult child may be shocked to learn that they have inherited far less than they expected, or have even been cut out of the will entirely.

In fact, our entire family was surprised to discover that one of our relatives had chosen to leave all of his estate to a church without telling any of us.  Fortunately, this relative was of sound mind and did not appear to be under any undue influence of the church, but this is not always the case.  When foul play is suspected, an experienced probate lawyer may help the family attempt to contest the will, but the the facts are difficult and expensive to prove, leaving the ultimate decision on the distribution of assets up to the courts.

As you can imagine, when surprises like this come up, it’s uncomfortable for all involved. Different parties may choose to hire their own lawyers, and the situation can end up pitting formerly loving family members against one another. It’s not something that Kent and Muskegon County probate lawyers look forward to.

While the probate lawyer is aware of how long the process can take, this often comes as a big surprise for clients. A good attorney will help to guide everything through probate as quickly and smoothly as possible, but it can still take from six months up to a couple of years, depending upon what other “surprises” make themselves known along the way.

If you would like to speak with a professional Grand Rapids and Muskegon probate lawyer, please contact Eyestone Law Offices at 800.667.5291 to schedule a free initial consultation today!  We provide services throughout West Michigan and have three offices conveniently located in downtown Grandville and Muskegon and near Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids.