Probate Administration and Disputes

A death with no will or trust gets complicated. How we help:

When a Michigan resident dies, unless assets have been directed by non-probate transfers, Probate Court will be involved in the settlement of his or her estate Probate administration can be an especially intricate process in cases where a person dies without having his or her affairs in order. Although the law and process have been simplified over the years, it can be difficult to traverse the system without the help of a skilled lawyer.

Probate Court is divided along county lines in Michigan, with jurisdiction determined by the county in which the person resided at the time of death or — if the person died while out of state — in the county where he or she owned property.

When a person dies with assets titled in his or her individual name alone (i.e., not held jointly or through a trust or handled through a beneficiary designation), legal title to assets can be administered only through the probate process. Probate administration calls for adhering to requirements and timetables specified by law. The rules dictate, for example, notification of known and unknown creditors, communication with heirs, the gathering of an inventory of assets, the settling of debts, the sale of assets, distribution of proceeds, record keeping and much more.

Kelly Law Firm is the largest firm that handles probate cases in St. Clair County. Our probate administration attorneys also frequently administer cases in Sanilac County, Macomb County or another Michigan county where a client requests our involvement. Our attorneys routinely manage cases in which the decedent’s designated personal representative* or heirs all live out of the county or out of state.

When disputes arise about the settlement of an estate and cannot be settled through negotiation, our litigation attorneys go to work on behalf of our client. Commonly disputed matters include the capacity to make an estate plan, disproportionate allocation of assets, control over assets, and undue influence. Kelly Law Firm attorneys have an excellent track record in probate administration.

There’s no question that probate administration is more time-consuming and costly in cases where someone dies without a will or trust. If you know someone who needs a nudge to be proactive and to establish an estate plan, send him or her this page by clicking an icon in the lower left. Kelly Law Firm excels at estate planning, too.

* People often use the word “executor” in reference to the individual assigned to manage the settlement of an estate. However, in Michigan this individual is legally called a “personal representative.”