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If you were named as executor in the estate of a loved one, a Michigan probate lawyer is the best resource to explain the probate process and how to begin administering decedent’s estate. If the deceased person had a will, you would begin by opening the estate in the county where the decedent lived at the time of death. This process gives the executor the authority to start acting on behalf of the estate and distributing assets in accordance with the will. Prior to distributing property, however, the executor must make certain debts and expenses are paid out of the estate corpus.

Paying Debts

Under Michigan law, debts must be paid before assets are distributed. These debts are listed in order of priority in the Michigan code and must be satisfied in the following order:

  • Costs to administer the estate.
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses.
  • Homestead allowance (otherwise known as a spousal share of $15,000).
  • Family allowance.
  • Exempt property.
  • Debts and taxes arising under federal law.
  • Reasonable medical expenses associated with the decedent’s final illness.
  • Other debts and taxes in order of priority as under state law (e.g., secured debts are paid first, followed by unsecured debt).

Your Michigan probate attorney will advise you that creditors have a limited amount of time to make a claim for debts. Once notice of death is posted in a public newspaper, as required by state law, creditors have just four months to make a claim against the estate. If notice is not posted in accordance with protocol, creditors have three years from the date of death.

Distributing Assets

Assets must be distributed to heirs in accordance with the will. In order for a will to be valid under Michigan law, it must be executed by one with sound mind, who is over 18 years of age and must be in writing. It must also contain a signature of the testator and at least two witnesses who saw the testator sign the document. Wills that do not comply with these basic requirements could be contested by heirs concerned with validity. For this reason, it is always best to work with a Michigan probate lawyer when executing a will.

Contact a Knowledgeable Probate Attorney Today

Attorney Chris Trainor of the Law Offices of Chris Trainor and Associates is a competent and compassionate legal advocate who can help you during this difficult time. Call his office today: 800-961-8477.


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