Labre Law Office | Family Law & Criminal Defense Lawyer | Edwardsburg, MI


LaBre Law Office will represent you in all aspects of probate with excellence as our standard.

Probate in Edwardsburg, Michigan

Losing a loved one and dealing with grief is never easy. When probate is necessary, it compounds the emotional turmoil and stress with its required paperwork and the involvement of the probate court as you work to settle your loved one’s estate assets.

At LaBre Law Office, our dedicated probate lawyers understand the challenges of probate during a time of loss. We’re here to guide you through the intricacies of Michigan law with empathy and professionalism, drawing upon more than 43 years of combined experience.

What is probate?

When a person dies, probate is the legal process through which the deceased person’s estate assets are distributed, debts settled, and final wishes carried out. Probate encompasses the administration of an estate and the probate court proceedings through which a personal representative (PR), also known as an executor or administrator, gathers all assets, pays any debts or taxes the decedent owed, and distributes property according to the decedent’s wishes.

Because specific laws and regulations govern Michigan’s probate proceedings, hiring a skilled probate attorney can ease the burden probate takes on family members. An attorney’s experience and knowledge of probate can facilitate a smoother experience with probate court during a time of intense emotion.

We Can Guide You Through The Probate Process

At LaBre Law Office, we have a thorough understanding of Michigan law and a genuine commitment to helping our clients through every step of probate. Our team of seasoned probate attorneys is well-versed in the intricacies of local probate courts and will work tirelessly to ensure that your loved one’s estate is handled efficiently, effectively, and with the utmost respect.

The general steps involved in Michigan probate include:

  1. Filing a Petition: Probate begins with filing a petition with the Probate Court in the county where the deceased person resided. This action initiates the formal probate proceeding.
  2. Appointment of Personal Representative: If the person who died does not have a legally valid will designating one, the court appoints a PR to manage the decedent’s estate. This individual has the legal authority to act on the estate’s behalf.
  3. Notification of Heirs and Creditors: The PR must notify heirs and creditors of the deceased about the probate proceedings to give interested parties an opportunity to participate and make any valid claims against the estate.
  4. Inventory and Appraisal: The PR compiles an inventory of the deceased individual’s assets, which may include real estate, bank accounts, investments, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, personal property, and more. An appraisal may be required to determine the value of certain assets.
  5. Paying Debts and Expenses: The PR must identify and pay the deceased individual’s debts, including outstanding bills, taxes, and funeral expenses. This step is crucial before distributing assets to beneficiaries.
  6. Asset Distribution: Once all debts and expenses are settled, the remaining assets are distributed among the beneficiaries as outlined in the deceased person’s will or, if there is no will, according to Michigan’s intestate succession laws.
  7. Closing the Estate: After all assets have been distributed and any necessary tax returns have been filed, the PR seeks court approval to close the estate. They must provide an accounting of the estate’s transactions to obtain final approval from the court.

Probate and Settling the Will

The length and complexity of the process can vary, depending on the nuances of the estate and potential disputes that may arise. Working with an experienced Michigan probate attorney can help you navigate the process smoothly, comply with legal requirements, and protect the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries.

The Different People Involved in Probate

The key individuals involved include:

  1. Decedent: This term refers to the person who has passed away, and their assets and estate are subject to probate.
  2. Personal Representative: This individual, also known as an executor or administrator, manages the probate process. If not specifically designated in a legally valid will, the court appoints the PR and gives them the authority to act on behalf of the estate. Their duties include gathering assets, paying debts, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and ensuring the probate process follows Michigan probate laws.
  3. Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries are individuals named in the decedent’s will or, if there is no will, determined by Michigan’s intestate succession laws. They are entitled to receive a share of the decedent’s assets as outlined in the will or state law.
  4. Heirs: Heirs are individuals who are entitled to inherit from the decedent’s estate under Michigan’s intestate succession laws. If there is no will, the court determines the heirs based on the state’s laws of descent and distribution.
  5. Creditors: Creditors are individuals or entities to whom the decedent owed debts. During the probate process, creditors have the opportunity to file claims against the estate to seek payment. The PR reviews these claims and settles valid debts using estate funds.
  6. Probate Judge: The probate judge presides over the probate proceedings and ensures that the process adheres to Michigan probate laws. The judge may appoint the PR, resolve disputes, and provide guidance throughout the probate process.
  7. Probate Attorney: A probate attorney is a legal professional with expertise in probate law. They provide guidance and representation to personal representatives, beneficiaries, and other parties involved in the probate process. A probate attorney assists with legal matters, ensures compliance with Michigan probate laws, and helps resolve any disputes or challenges that may arise.

The specific individuals involved in probate can vary depending on the circumstances of the case, the complexity of the estate, and any disputes that may arise. Working with an experienced Michigan probate lawyer can protect the interests of all parties and complete probate effectively.

Are You The Executor Named In a Will?

Being the executor of a will can feel like a complicated and overwhelming responsibility, but experienced probate lawyers can help you fulfill your duties effectively. Hiring a probate lawyer with extensive knowledge of Michigan estate law will aid you with the following:

  1. Understanding Probate: Your lawyer will explain the steps and deadlines involved in Michigan probate to help you navigate the legal requirements and avoid any pitfalls along the way.
  2. Validating the Will: A probate attorney can determine the validity of the will and ensure that it meets all the legal requirements in Michigan. If issues or challenges arise regarding the will’s validity, a probate lawyer can guide you on how to address them.
  3. Inventorying Assets: One of your primary responsibilities as an executor is to identify and inventory the deceased person’s assets. A seasoned attorney can help you create an accurate inventory that accounts for all assets, and obtain professional appraisals if necessary.
  4. Paying Debts and Distributing Assets: A probate lawyer will guide you through the process of settling the deceased person’s debts, including creditor claims, properly addressing all outstanding obligations. Furthermore, your attorney will help you distribute the remaining assets according to the terms of the will, complying with Michigan laws.
  5. Handling Legal Documents and Filings: Your probate lawyer will prepare and file the necessary legal documents with the appropriate courts in Michigan, including filing the will for probate, notifying interested parties, and completing any required tax filings for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  6. Resolving Disputes: If any disputes or disagreements arise among beneficiaries or other interested parties, a probate lawyer can mediate and find resolutions that align with the intentions of the deceased and comply with Michigan law.

Why People Seek To Avoid Probate

Experienced Michigan probate lawyers understand why many people seek to avoid probate. While it serves an important function in the orderly distribution of a deceased person’s assets, it can be time-consuming, expensive, and potentially lead to family disputes. Here are some reasons why individuals often seek to avoid probate:

  1. Time-consuming Process: The probate process takes several months or even years to complete. During this time, beneficiaries may have to wait to receive their inheritance, causing delays in accessing much-needed funds.
  2. Costly Fees and Expenses: Probate involves various administrative costs, such as court fees, attorney fees, and executor fees. These expenses can quickly add up, depleting the estate’s value and reducing the assets available for distribution to beneficiaries.
  3. Loss of Privacy: Probate is a public process, meaning that information about the deceased person’s assets, debts, and beneficiaries becomes part of the public record. This lack of privacy can be undesirable for individuals who wish to keep their financial matters confidential.
  4. Potential for Family Disputes: Probate proceedings can sometimes lead to conflicts among family members, especially if there are disagreements regarding the distribution of assets or the validity of the will. These disputes can result in costly litigation, further delaying the resolution of the estate.
  5. Lack of Control: When assets go through probate, the court oversees the distribution process, potentially subjecting the deceased person’s wishes, as outlined in their will, to interpretation by the court. Some individuals prefer to maintain more control over asset distribution by avoiding probate altogether.

Strategies to Protect Property and Other Assets from Probate

Many individuals choose to work with an estate planning attorney to explore strategies and create estate planning documents that can minimize or bypass probate, including:

  • Establishing living trusts
  • Designating beneficiaries on certain assets
  • Gifting asset during their lifetime

Such methods can streamline the transfer of assets, reduce costs, maintain privacy, and potentially prevent family disputes. An experienced Michigan estate planning attorney can recommend the most appropriate estate planning strategies for your specific circumstances.

We Can Guide You to Determine Your Needs and Next Steps Regarding Probate

At LaBre Law Office, our probate lawyers strive to simplify probate and alleviate the burdens that can arise in the aftermath of a death. We provide clear, honest, and reliable advice so that you can make informed decisions and move forward with confidence.

Recognizing the uniqueness of each probate case, we tailor our approach to meet the specific needs of our clients. Whether you are an executor seeking guidance on fulfilling your fiduciary duties, a beneficiary looking to protect your rights, or a family member seeking to contest a will, our compassionate team provides the personalized attention and strategic advocacy that your situation requires.

Schedule a Probate Consultation Today with LaBre Law Office

When it comes to probate matters in Michigan, trust LaBre Law Office to be your ally and advocate. Contact us today at (269) 431-2958 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation. With excellence as our standard, we will help you navigate the probate process with compassion, understanding, and knowledge.

At LaBre Law Office, excellence is our standard.

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Why Choose LaBre Law Office?

Our clients in the Michiana area have confidence when LaBre Law Office handles their legal issues because our general practice law firm has established a record as a trusted member of the community for over four decades, serving our neighbors:

  • Caring, aggressive advocacy for your interests in many practice areas
  • We represent clients in both Michigan and Indiana
  • Straightforward, assertive, and dependable guidance
  • Unique legal strategies tailored to each specific case
  • We fully address your concerns so you always understand your case’s status
  • We will be here for you long after your legal issue is resolved

Excellence is our standard. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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