Probate is a legal process that begins with a "petition" (a request) to open the estate and name a personal representative who is responsible for the administration of the deceased's property. The next step is when an official Notice to Creditors is printed in a local newspaper and Notice of Administration is sent to other involved parties. Creditors then have a set amount of time to file their claims from the first date of publication. Then, the personal representative can pay the debts of the estate and distribute the remaining estate assets. Finally, a petition for discharge is filed, and the estate is closed.
While on one hand, this may sound simple, probate law and the handling of estates is in fact a complex system, which presents you with multiple requirements and tasks to be performed by the personal representative, an experienced attorney. For example, an estate including only a single house and single bank account that has been left to a single beneficiary will probably be a far easier and quicker process to deal with than an estate containing multiple houses that are located in various states, and that are left to multiple beneficiaries. This becomes especially difficult, if an estate includes leaving assets to a minor.
If you're dealing with probate issues in Michigan, there are some factors of prime importance that you'll benefit from knowing. The first of these factors has to do with how the procedure works. Without knowing this, you're likely to have a long and difficult road, before you are able to get your case pushed through.
You'll also want to make sure that you are up-to-date on formal testacy, and especially on how hearings are prompted by petitions. This is important for just about anyone involved in the Michigan State probate system, given that this hearing will contribute a great deal to the outcome of the estate being probated. Also, it is a good idea to be clear on 'election' and the consequences of not electing in a timely fashion. This could result in penalties that, aside from being costly, could prevent your case from going through as planned.
Probating an estate is a matter that's not to be taken lightly, which is one of the main reasons why many people hire attorneys. By doing so, they find the process to be less stressful and are able to rest assured knowing that their cases are handled as they should be.
There are two main procedural factors that contribute to the probate process, which are of extreme importance, especially for someone who is not very familiar with Michigan State laws. The first of these is a time limitation that is placed on numerous procedures. It is imperative that these deadlines are followed, as not doing so, can cause additional work and lengthy delays.
The second procedural factor has to do with the writing of formal, legal documents. This factor converges with the first, resulting in these documents having deadlines that are set by the State of Michigan. Some of the documents that you'll have to write are petitions, affidavits, requests, orders, inventories, etc. If you don't have much experience in writing formal, legal documents, you may consider hiring an attorney to handle this, as the guidelines set by the state must be followed precisely.
The formal testacy proceeding begins, when the court decides on a time and place for the hearing. Petitions must give notice in the way that the State of Michigan describes in the statutes. These notices will need to be sent out to the decedent's heirs, as well as to the devisees and personal representatives named in the will. On top of this, these petitions must meet Michigan State standards, which can be difficult for people inexperienced in writing and reading legal documentation.
People dealing with formal testacy issues in the Michigan State probate system find it convenient to hire an attorney who can help them write up these petitions, so that their cases may go smoothly and as planned. People who try to make their way through the system on their own often find the experience to be quite time-consuming and stressful, given the nature and language of the laws.
As you can see, handling probate laws is not an easy thing to go through or deal with, which is one of the many reasons why it's often a good idea to hire an attorney experienced in the field of Michigan Probate Law to help you with the matter. Having an attorney on your side will help you make sure that the estate and assets of your loved one's particular case are handled in a proper and legal fashion.