What do I do regarding assets and property of a loved one after he or she passes away in Michigan?
In Michigan, you should look for a Last Will & Testament and burial plot deeds. Create an inventory of the decedent’s assets and property, physically secure any real estate, and collect the mail to discover accounts and debts. Keep all receipts for funeral and burial services and get multiple certified copies of the death certificate. Before paying any bills or making any distributions consult with an attorney to determine whether the probate court needs to be involved.
How do I know whether I need to go to probate court?
The probate court may need to be involved with a decedent’s estate whenever the decedent passed away owning something solely in his or her name such as a bank account, real estate, or an investment account or life insurance policy without a beneficiary designation. There are several different types of probate court procedures depending on the assets involved and the value of those assets.
What should I do when a loved one can no longer manager his or her own financial affairs?
If you find yourself in this position in Michigan, you may need to petition the probate court for conservatorship. A conservator is appointed by the probate court to “step into the shoes” of the incapacitated individual and manage the individual’s financial affairs. You may petition the probate court and nominate yourself to be appointed as conservator. Conservatorship is a huge responsibility to undertake for another and you should consult with an attorney before making any decisions about whether to proceed with this action.
What should I do when a loved one can no longer make big decisions about his or her life?
You may need to petition the probate court for guardianship. In Michigan, both adults and minors can have a guardian appointed by the court. This power granted from the court, allows you as guardian to make decisions about medical treatment, physical placement of the individual, and allows the guardian to manage income of the individual. A conservator may also be needed if more significant assets are involved. One person can be both guardian and conservator or each position may be served by a different person.