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Unfortunately, clients often have uncertainty regarding the probate process in Michigan after death. The article looks at the typical roles, such as trustee and personal representatives, and explains their duties. The article directs the reader to contact a Probate Protector specialist in Michigan. The article mentions a couple post-mortem steps such as gathering assets and cautions against retitling assets or making distributions until talking with the attorney.
I know too well that the death of someone near and dear can be a stressful time. Yours and your family's life is disrupted by the loss and your grief. Often, it can be a confusing time, both emotionally and logistically.
What are the roles and responsibilites of a Trustee or Personal Representative? Here's a quick look at different roles involved at someone's death:
Executor-The Executor or Executrix, also known as the Personal Representative, has the duty of safeguarding and collecting and managing assets, which the decedent owned at death, in accordance with the Will. He or she will make distributions as directed in the Will. The Executor also has responsibility for filing the estate tax return, if necessary.
Trustee-The Trustee is the person in charge of managing and distributing any assets held under a Trust. The decedent may have had one or more trusts that he or she established during lifetime. The Trustee must follow the Trust document, which provides the terms by which the assets are to be held and distributed. Often, the Trustee must work with the Executor for a coordination of efforts regarding assets.
Agent under Property Power of Attorney-The person who was acting under the Property Power of Attorney, called the Agent, no longer has authority once the Principal has died.
Agent under Health Care Power of Attorney-The Agent may have authority to allow for organ donation or cremation.
Guardian-A guardian is a person nominated in the Will to care for the decedent's minor children. While it is up to the court to decide who will get custody of the children, the decedent's choice of guardian will be given due weight.
The very first step, of course, is for the family to make any funeral arrangements. Immediately after death, the Executor or Trustee will need to make sure any assets are safe. For example, if the decedent lived alone, it would be wise to change the locks on the door to prevent someone with an errant key from gaining access.
Next, the Executor/Trustee should immediately consult with a Michigan Probate Attorneywho focuses on estate planning and administration. Many families don't realize that there is a real difference between just a probate attorney and an attorney who litigates in Probate Court.
The Michigan Probate Litigator will help guide you through the next steps to be taken, which will include gathering the assets and following the terms of the documents. This step need not be done immediately, but an appointment should be made within two weeks after the death occurs. In the interim, it is important that you do not re-title any assets of the decedent and that you make no distributions to any beneficiary, including yourself.
They will also help guide you through the next steps, which will be unique to your circumstances. The attorney will help you circumnavigate the many potential pitfalls and achieve the best result possible.
Contact Expert Author and Attorney/CPA for your confidential 'Client Questionnaire' to see if your case has merit. Joseph James Dadich, Esq., CPA at 586.604.9168 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quicker and personalized response.