Michigan Estate Planning & Estate Litigation
Many people think that creating a will is sufficient in avoiding probate and planning a comfortable future for their family. Unfortunately, in many cases, this is far from the truth. Creating a will is a great place to start; however, if your family owns high value assets or property in other states (i.e. a cabin up north, vacation property, real estate), then it’s advised to work with an experienced estate lawyer to ensure your estate plan covers these assets.
Not taking the proper measures in your estate plan will result in unnecessarily high fees, taxes, administration expenses and potential problems in probate court.
Kelly & Kelly P.C. has over 30 years of experience in Michigan estate planning and estate litigation cases. Our lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to ensure your assets are protected and reach their rightful heirs.
How We Can Help
The estate lawyers at our firm have a vast amount of legal experience in several areas related to estate planning and probate court. You can read more about these individual areas within the links below.
Probate – When someone dies without a will, has property that requires administration/division among several beneficiaries, or is involved in a legal dispute over inheritance, probate court will oversee the case. Our law firm has over 30 years’ experience navigating the complex issues involved with probate.
Probating Wills – Even when someone passes away with a valid will, their estate is typically required to go through probate. Wills do not guarantee the avoidance of probate. In fact, In Michigan, if you own any assets solely in your name upon your death, your estate will be subject to probate. Probate will be required to transfer such assets out of your name and distribute them to your beneficiaries or heirs. In order for your estate to avoid probate court proceedings, you will need a trust and/or beneficiary designations to address proper transfer of all assets upon your death.
Patient Advocate Designation – In the State of Michigan, unless you designate a Patient Advocate no one is legally permitted to make medical decisions in the event you cannot make them for yourself, with one exception. The only exception to this rule is that of a parent-minor child relationship.
Conservatorship – The appointment of a conservator involves delegating power to someone to manage financial affairs and other aspects of another individual’s life. In Michigan, an appointed conservator could be an individual, a corporation or a professional conservator.
Guardianship – Similar to conservatorship, our attorneys help with the legal aspects involved with temporary guardianship, limited guardianship, adult guardianship, and guardianship over a minor.
Elder Law – Elderly individuals have unique legal needs which requires specific legal expertise. This may include Medicaid planning, long term care, and more.
Healthcare Directives – An advance healthcare directive is an aspect of estate planning that allows someone to express values and desires related to end-of-life care. An example of this is a Patient Advocate Designation.
Medicaid Planning – There are many complicated issues surrounding Medicaid planning and nursing home care for senior citizens. Our law firm is dedicated to ensuring elders receive affordable nursing home care through the federally funded program of Medicaid.
Power of Attorney – A durable power of attorney (POA) is a document by which a principal designates another as the principal’s attorney. In other words, someone can make important decisions on behalf of another individual in a crisis situation.
Trust Administration – Trust administration involves the trustees management of trust assets and property based on terms laid out within the document. Trustees have many important roles and legal requirements. Kelly & Kelly represents trustees and beneficiaries through various complex legal legal matters.
Last Will & Testament
Wills are the foundation in any estate plan. In Michigan, a Last Will & Testament provides you the ability to make several decisions about what happens after you pass away.
– First, it allows you to decide who gets your property including cash, personal property, family heirlooms, and real estate.
– Second, a Will permits you to nominate a Personal Representative of your estate – the person who will have the authority to pay your debts, settle any claims, and distribute your assets to the proper beneficiaries.
– Third, if you have minor children, a Will sets forth who you want to take care of your children upon your death.
Joint Ownership Bank Accounts
The effect of adding a second person to your bank account is joint ownership and increased liability. Upon the death of a joint account holder, the account automatically passes to the surviving owner. The assets in a joint account are subject to collection by creditors of either joint owner. A better approach is to have a Durable Power of Attorney in place. This legal document allows a person you choose to manage your finances for you at your direction or when you are unable to do so.
Estate Lawyer With 30+ Years’ Experience
Attorney John Kelly is the founder and managing partner of Kelly & Kelly P.C, a Northville, Michigan based law firm specializing in estate planning, probate, and several other practice areas. For over 30 years John has served the local community by providing high quality estate planning expertise. If you require legal guidance on your estate, contact the offices of Kelly & Kelly today.