Estate & Trust Administration
Step aside, ease your mind, and let the experienced lawyers of the Howard Law Group assist you as they take care of your will and trusts administration needs. Or, be as involved as you want with our experts helping you with all of your will and trust administration needs. Being a successor trustee of a trust or personal representative of a will does not need to be overwhelming, you have us to help you.
Trust administration is the process of transferring property from the grantor to the trust’s beneficiaries. And we’ll work closely with the trustee, personal representative and all beneficiaries so that the persons estate planning desires are carried out quickly and efficiently.
If your loved one has a trust in place and recently passed away naming you as the successor Trustee, you may not know what needs to be done. Trust language can be confusing and voluminous. Contact the estate and trust attorneys at The Howard Law Group to give you the information you need to fulfill your obligation and ensure your loved one’s wishes are carried out.
Maybe your loved one or friend died with a simple will, or no will at all. We are here to help. We will guide you through the process of probate and help you to understand how to pay bills now while the process is completed. Contact us before you begin the process.
Revocable or Living trusts are often used to avoid probate and estate taxes. They may be amended during the grantor's lifetime, but generally become irrevocable trusts when the grantor dies. An irrevocable trust may only be changed or amended by court order and is managed by a trustee.
Trustees are expected to:
- Invest trust assets consistent with the trust's provisions and for the best interest of the trust's beneficiaries
- Make payments to the trust's beneficiaries in accordance with provisions of the trust
- Preserve and control trust property in a reasonable manner
- Pay the trust’s income taxes
- Handle accounting and record-keeping for the trust
- Notify trust beneficiaries and heirs when the grantor dies
- Notify creditors when the grantor dies
- Notify the county assessor when there is a change of ownership of the trust if the trust contains real estate ownership
- Deal impartially with beneficiaries
- Cooperate with any co-trustees
- Refrain from using property and assets of the trust for their own benefit or profit
- Refrain from becoming the trustee of another trust with conflicting interests
A trustee is not a volunteer position. You are entitled to reasonable compensation for the work that you do. Likewise, the legal counsel you seek may be charged to the trust as well. We can guide you to be sure that you as trustee get the job done right.
Probate and Estate Administration
Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s assets are distributed upon death and the estate’s debts are paid. Estate administration covers the probate process, as well as other types of asset transfers from the estate to deceased’s heirs. The Howard Law Group works closely with you to provide the estate plan that is right for your unique situation, as well with your chosen executors and trustees, to ensure proper and pain-free distribution of your assets. But when no plan exists, or issues arise in administering an estate with or without a Will or trust, you can count on the probate and estate administration attorneys at The Howard Law Group.
Our probate, estate, and trust administration services include the following:
- Estate Administration: We can guide you through this complex process and protect your rightful inheritance from the state. This can include probate which is the legal process of finalizing the affairs of an estate after death, which can include paying estate or trust debts, winding up businesses, paying taxes and properly distributing the estate or trust assets to beneficiaries.
- Creditor Claims: The personal representative of an estate is responsible for notifying creditors when a testator passes away, including publishing a public notice so that creditors can make their claims for repayment.
- Formal Probate vs. Informal Probate: For most estates the process of probate in Michigan under the Estates and Protected Individual Code (EPIC) can be done in a fairly simply process called informal probate. Make no mistake, you still need to file correct paperwork and account properly for all assets. However, the court blesses you as the Personal Representative (PR) and then you carry out your duties without court supervision, or micro-management, until you ask for final approval.
Supervised Probate: Conversely, sometimes supervision is required for a probate estate, and then you may need to elect a supervised or Formal Probate.
- Notice Requirements Under Trust Administration: A trustee is obligated to make certain notifications upon the grantor’s death. We can review your loved one’s estate plan and determine which parties have an interest in the trust.
- Small Estate Under Michigan Law: If your loved one’s estate is valued under $22,000, you may be able to avoid the probate process and save money on legal fees. There are still requirement that exist, and we can help you to make sure you are qualified.
- Nursing Care: when you are disabled and require nursing care, your estate plan should be reviewed to maximize benefits, and one of our Howard Law Group attorneys can help.
- Disability: If you are unable to care for your own assets, who takes over? Your successor trustee or person with a financial power of attorney? We can help this person after it happens and we can help you to properly designate this person in the first place with careful estate planning documents in place.