A probate attorney at Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle can provide help to those in Michigan’s Lake Huron shoreline communities after a death has occurred. When a loved one passes away, not only are you forced to deal with the grief of your family member’s passing, but you’re also thrust into an unfamiliar world of court proceedings. You have to go through the probate process to settle the affairs of the estate and to facilitate the transfer of assets. This process can be complicated, time consuming, and costly, with Investopedia estimating probate can take around a year and can cost three to seven percent of the estate’s value.
Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle can help to make the probate process easier by providing those involved in the process with legal advice, assistance and advocacy. We can represent heirs or beneficiaries who want to make sure an inheritance is protected during probate and we can also provide representation and advice to individuals who wish to contest a will because they don’t think it is a true reflection of the wishes of the deceased.
While we help all of the different parties involved in the probate process, the person who often requires the most assistance from a legal professional is the individual who has been chosen as the executor of an estate. The deceased person (the decedent) will typically name an executor of an estate in his last will and testament and the court will appoint the chosen person as executor, unless the chosen executor of an estate is not able to fulfill all of the duties involved with this role.
If you have been chosen as executor of an estate, you should be aware that serving as executor comes with many responsibilities and you should make sure you get the help you need to fulfill them. Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle assists executors with all aspects of the probate process, and five of the key ways that our legal team will help executors include the following.
Determining if You Want to Serve as Executor
The executor of an estate has a fiduciary duty, which is the highest duty a person can owe. It is the executor’s job to take care of the estate assets and to handle all that is involved in winding up the decedent’s affairs. It takes time and can be stressful to serve as executor of an estate, so before you agree to fulfill this role, you should get legal advice on what it entails. If you decline to serve as the executor, the court can simply appoint a personal representative or estate administrator to oversee the probate process.
Filing All Appropriate Legal Paperwork
An executor of an estate must take care of submitting paperwork to the court, including presenting the will to be probated. In addition to filing court paperwork, the executor also has to address tax issues and file any required forms with the IRS. Dealing with legal forms and tax forms is a process that requires technical knowledge. Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle can help make the process easy.
Providing Required Notice to Interested Parties
Potential heirs or beneficiaries must be notified of the probate process after a death. Creditors must be told of the probate proceedings and given a chance to make claims. If the estate is owed anything, the executor also has to provide appropriate notice and make efforts to collect so all estate assets are accounted for.
Managing all of the Estate Assets
During the probate process, it is the executor’s job to manage assets in the estate. This means paying bills out of estate assets and ensuring that property and investments are taken care of in an appropriate way so losses do not occur as a result of the mismanagement of assets.
Transferring Assets to New Owners
There are legal formalities required to transfer the official ownership of assets in accordance with the wishes of the deceased after a will has been probated. An executor of an estate may need to facilitate the process of changing titles and deeds so the new owners have a proper legal claim to property they have inherited. Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle can help with this process.
Getting Help from A Michigan Probate Attorney
There are 210 miles of Michigan mainland shoreline along Lake Huron , and our firm covers all of them. If you live in or around the Michigan Shoreline area, our legal team will be there for you after a loved one has passed away. To find out more about the assistance we can provide during the probate process, give us a call at (989) 872-5601 or contact us online today.