Probate court is most known as being the system built to handle the affairs of an individual that has passed away, a decedent estate. It also has jurisdiction over the following types of cases:
· Adoption Services
· Decedent's Estates
· Mental Health
· Name Changes
· Registration of Foreign Births
The probate court’s primary goal when someone dies is to evaluate the authenticity of a Will, if there is one, and to evaluate the assets in the decedent’s estate. Assets can include bank accounts retirement accounts and real estate. The court will inventory the estate, and either authorize the proper distributions stated in the Will or make distributions based on Intestate Succession rules.
The court will appoint a personal representative (sometimes referred to as an executor) who assists the court in the process mentioned above. Most personal representatives will hire an attorney to handle the probating of assets due to the complexity of the process and filing deadlines required by the court.
The next most common matter handled by the probate court is guardianship and/or conservatorship. When an individual cannot act in their own best interest or is deemed incompetent to do so, someone can petition the court to be appointed their guardian to make those important decisions for them. If there is a power of attorney, a formal guardianship appointment can be avoided. In many cases, close friends or relatives nominate themselves to serve as guardian or conservator for a loved one. Unfortunately, if nothing has been drawn up using estate planning documents, the court may not select that friend or family member to serve as guardian or conservator and rely on a court-appointed individual to do so.
Because we conduct all our meetings online, we can assist clients who live anywhere. Take the next step to protecting everyone you love and everything you own through thoughtful planning. Call us today at (248) 792-9193, or fill out our online form to schedule a virtual consultation.
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