December 19, 2019
Do I Need a Michigan Probate Attorney After A Family Member Dies?
The loss of a loved one can be a painful and confusing time for family members. There are many details to attend to immediately after a family member passes away, including arranging for a funeral and finalizing the person’s estate. While you are not required to hire a Michigan probate attorney to assist you with the probate estate, consulting an attorney can be helpful in many ways.
Reasons Why You Might Need a Michigan Probate Attorney
Some of the reasons why individuals choose to hire a probate lawyer to handle their loved one’s estate include:
- They are unsure of their legal duties and responsibilities as Personal Representative of the estate;
- The person did not have a will, so the estate will be an intestate estate;
- They become a trustee of the person’s trust and are unsure what to do next;
- There are individuals who may assert claims or contest the will;
- They may not have the time to handle a probate estate;
- There are questions regarding the person’s interest in various assets;
- The estate is expected to have various tax matters or creditor matters that are complicated;
- There is a question whether the will is valid;
- The estate is a high-dollar estate with many different assets to secure, inventory, appraise, and distribute; and,
- Hiring an attorney can simply put a person at ease and lessen the anxiety and stress that can sometimes be involved in probating an estate.
If you choose to proceed with a probate estate without consulting a Michigan probate attorney, remember that you can contact an attorney at any point during the probate process. If questions arise or you have an issue that you are not sure how to handle, contact our office to discuss the matter with a member of our legal team.
Steps to Take After the Death of a Family Member
After a family member’s death, steps that can help you take care of necessary matters include:
- Notify family members. Other family members can help with this process.
- Contact a funeral director to make arrangements for cremation or burial and funeral services. Many funeral homes also assist with drafting and publishing an obituary and obtaining copies of death certificates.
- If the person was a veteran, contact your local Veterans Administration Office. The VA may offer assistance and resources for the funeral.
- Locate estate planning documents, including the person’s will, trusts, life insurance policies, etc.
- Open a probate estate so that you can open an estate account to deposit liquid assets as you close bank accounts, receive refund checks, and liquidate assets.
- Close credit card accounts and other unnecessary services.
- Secure and inventory assets. For expensive assets, you might need a formal appraisal.
- Review the will to determine how assets are to be distributed.
- Review and pay valid claims.
- Prepare and file tax returns.
- Distribute assets to heirs.
The above list is not inclusive. Each estate is unique. Therefore, there could be many more steps involved in probating an estate. Depending on the complexity of the estate, the assets involved, and potential litigation, you might want to consult a Michigan probate lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you adhere to the law and meet your fiduciary responsibilities as the personal representative for the estate.
Contact a Michigan Estate Attorney for More Information
The attorneys of The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry can assist you with each phase of the probate process. We provide legal advice, guidance, and support as you work to finalize your loved one’s estate. Our legal team can handle the entire estate for you or guide you through certain aspects of the estate.
Call 888-390-4360 or use the contact form on our website to request additional information or schedule an appointment with an attorney to discuss your loved one’s estate.