Many Michigan families have significant assets that are valuable. When the head of a household passes on, those assets might wind up in probate court and subject to a judge’s whims and arguments by potential beneficiaries. Fortunately, you can prevent such a potentially painful and divisive family experience by properly designating beneficiaries and establishing a procedure for probate and trust administration.
Assets get frozen upon death
When a head of household or other person passes on, a probate court will freeze those assets to ensure that the estate’s debts are settled. The probate process goes much more smoothly when a trust and legally designated beneficiaries are in place. When they are not, the process can grind to a slow crawl and cause short-term financial hardships that might have lasting consequences for surviving family members.
Financial advisors can smooth over the process
The creation of one or more trusts can preserve financial and other assets and provide clearly designated beneficiaries and the procedures to follow for eventual distributions to them. Legally designated financial advisors can settle any debts left by an estate and present the results to the local probate court. A financial advisor also can demonstrate a trust’s intent and better enable the probate court to settle the final accounts and issue payments and other distributions in accordance with the deceased person’s final wishes.
You may want to learn more about how to protect valuable family assets and speed up the probate process if the unthinkable were to occur and leave your family in a bind. The loss of a loved one and head of household is hard enough on family members. A prolonged probate process makes matters worse but may be avoided with the help of an attorney experienced in probate law.
Please reach out to our Probate and Estate Administration expert, Attorney Benjamin J. Herbert for help with protecting you and your family’s assets. You can Contact Us here, or call us at 269-459-1432.