What to Know Before Probate Court in Detroit Michigan
We get calls fairly often from people that anticipate acquiring homes via probate.
It’s an extremely stressful time for most people, considering that they just lost a loved one.
So I decided to do some research on the probate system to provide some tips for people that find themselves going through this situation.
As you can tell from the title, today’s post is about what you should probably know before you go to probate court in Detroit.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is just information I learned by reading-up on probates in the state of Michigan.
If you’re a legal professional, and you see something incorrect, please let me know, and I’ll make the necessary changes.
Also, before taking any action, be sure to seek the help of a professional.
Let’s get started, shall we?
What Is Probate Court?
Before we get too deep into this, let’s take a step back and talk about what probate court really is.
In a nutshell, it’s a specialized court that’s dedicated to handling the distribution and administration of estates and the assets within those estates, when the owner of them has died.
How Long Do Probate Cases Last?
Here in Michigan, they’re usually completed between seven months to a year.
If federal estate taxes had to be paid (which is rare), it can take over a year to complete.
The case can also be drawn-out if someone contests that the will was written or signed by the deceased when they weren’t in a state of sound mind, or that they were under the influence of some substance at the time.
When is Probate Not Necessary?
If a person dies and doesn’t own any property in their name alone, then there’s
nothing to distribute; and thus, no probate proceedings are necessary.
If there are two spouses that are on title together for the asset(s), then the proceeds go to the surviving spouse; and again, no probate proceedings are deemed necessary. This is called a joint tenancy ownership.
If the gross value of the deceased person’s estate equals out to less than $15k, probate is avoided altogether here in the state of Michigan, if the deceased didn’t own any real estate.
In this situation, the parties that are to inherit the estate just have to give a sworn statement (aka affidavit) in order to be granted the assets, including money from banks, retirement accounts, etc.
You may have to read that a couple times, because this stuff can get a little complex. Don’t worry, it’s not just you.
The Personal Representative
The Personal Representative, as they’re called here in Michigan (commonly known as the executor in other states), is usually the person that the deceased person put in their will as the person in charge of their estate once they die.
If the deceased failed to put a will together, the state will appoint a Personal Representative themselves.
It’s the Personal Representative’s job to act on the behalf of the deceased after they pass.
Amongst other things, the Personal Representative’s job is to pay bills and taxes, sign documents, and distribute any property or assets as the will (or state, if there are no will demands) directs.
How Much Does Probate Cost?
Of course that varies, but here’s a list of some of the most common fees:
- Federal estate tax (if the estate is large) – These can be due even if the estate doesn’t end up going to probate court.
- Lawyer fees – Pretty self-explanatory.
- Executor fees – this means that the surviving family member in charge of the estate could be compensated for the work they put in on the case. But it’s not common for people to charge for this, because it’s deemed taxable income.
- Appraisal fees – these are due if there were items in the probate proceedings that needed to be appraised.
- Accountant fees
The most expensive part of the probate process is usually the attorney fees.
Attorneys tend to charge by the hour, so the more complex the estate (and the more assets the deceased had in their name), the higher the attorney fees are usually going to be.
In a nutshell, the overall cost depends on the contents of the estate, and the extent of the work necessary to comply with what’s necessary for the specific probate case.
Who Might a Personal Representative Need to Hire?
The list of people a Personal Representative may need to hire varies greatly, depending largely on the contents (and complexity) of the deceased person’s estate.
There can be a lot that goes into a probate case, so depending on the assets involved, the Personal Representative could need the assistance of a wide variety of professionals.
By far, the most common professional hired for these cases are probate attorneys. And depending on what else is in the estate, they might also need to hire a realtor (if they chose to sell their loved one’s home).
They may even need an accountant, whom can help them asses the financial, investment, and tax laws associated with the estate of their deceased loved one.
I gotta run for now, but click below for part two below…
Did you inherit a home that you’d like to sell for CASH, as soon as 7 days? Give us a call, at 313.454.1190.
Or, click here, and tell us some brief information on your property, and we’ll contact you back within 24 hours.
Michigan Probate: An Overview (via nolo.com)
Probate in Michigan – General Information (via lawyersinmichigan.com)
Do You Really Want to Avoid Probate? (via michiganlegalaid.org)
What is a Living Trust? (via nolo.com)
Inter Vivos Definition (via legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com)
How Living Trusts Avoid Probate (via nolo.com)
Who Gets My Property if There Is No Will? (via law.freeadvice.com)
How an Estate is Settled If There’s No Will: Intestate Succession (via nolo.com)