Brighton & West Branch Probate Attorneys
Compassionate Assistance after the Death of a Loved One
The death of a loved one is never easy. Most people don’t like to think about what will happen when they are gone, but without some planning ahead of time, it can cause heartache and grief for those who are left behind. If a trust or other estate plan is in place at the time of death, however, it can make the probate process a lot simpler.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal process used to ensure that a person’s final wishes are carried out upon their death if they pass intestate or without a proper estate plan in place.
The probate process can include:
- An inventory of the decedent’s property and debts
- Getting the property appraised
- Paying any debt or taxes the decedent owed
- Distribution of property as the will dictates (or the court if there is no will)
Why You Need A Will
It is important to note that probate is a two step process. The first step is to show the court that there is a valid will. This task is typically performed by the executor of the will, or the person that is named in the will as the decedent’s personal representative. Once the court has deemed that the will is valid, the second step is for the executor to manage the estate in accordance to the directives in the will.
If there is no will, however, the court must determine who will serve as the decedent’s personal representative, as well as who will get what. When this is the case, it is not unusual for a legal dispute to occur that can pit one loved one against another. A family member may believe they are entitled to a bigger share of the estate or may even attempt to exclude another family member from inheriting. To ensure that you understand the probate process and that your final wishes are fulfilled, we suggest that you discuss your situation with an experienced Brighton or West Branch estate planning attorney.
Nawrocki Center for Elder Law, Special Needs & Disability Planning, PLLC provides sound, friendly estate planning advice for you and your loved ones. Call us today at (810) 893-5277 to learn more.