Have you been told you need to open an Estate for your loved one who passed away?
When someone passes away and owns certain types of property such as real property (houses, buildings and land) how can their loved ones get ownership of inherited property ? Usually a Probate Estate is the answer.
Every county in the State of Michigan has a Probate Court. Probate Courts handle various types of legal matters, including juvenile delinquency proceedings and Decedents' Estates. A Decedent’s Estate is a case in the name of a person who passed away. The Court will appoint someone to be the “Personal Representative” of the Estate (also known as “Executor”).
The Personal Representative is given powers by the Probate Court in a court order called “Letters of Authority.” This gives the Personal Representative the right to any and all information that would have been available to the decedent when they were alive, as well as the right to transfer formal ownership property owned by the decedent. The Probate Court and laws that govern it will oversee the Personal Representative’s actions to protect the interested parties (persons entitled to an inheritance) to make sure that the PR follows the instructions given to them by the decedent.
Unless you are dealing with an “Intestate Estate” (generally when there is no will or other formal instructions from the decedent) the decedent’s original Last Will and Testament will instruct the PR on who they wish to receive their property, assets and money upon death. If it is an “Intestate Estate” then this means the decedent didn’t leave a Last Will and Testament or other legal instructions on who should handle their last affairs and who should receive the valuable assets or money of the decedent. In these instances there are detailed laws and instructions on who, based upon their family relationship, should be considered the rightful heirs. These heirs will receive any inheritance available merely by their status as a relative.
Attorney Paul Gipson has been helping people sort through the complex maze of Michigan Probate Law and Decedents' Estates for over 20 years. He understands that in some instances family and loved ones of the deceased are concerned that the death of a family member could come back on them. Will I be required to pay the bills of my deceased relative? In most instances this will not happen, as the general rule is that if someone passes away their legal obligations are theirs alone and a third party can’t be legally obligated to pay someone’s debt unless they themselves signed a contract prior to their death agreeing to the liability. These issues can be very complex and in some instances the creditors of the Estate can be guaranteed certain rights to payment.
Don’t stress over the possibilities. Attorney Paul Gipson understands your concerns. Please contact him at (269)483-8320 for a free 5 minute consultation.