One of the most bemoaned aspects of estate administration is probate court. The probate process is often time consuming, costly and often tedious.
Thankfully, there are ways to avoid probate in Michigan by utilizing certain estate planning strategies. We will discuss several of them in this blog post.
As the name suggests, a living trust is set up while the grantor is still alive. The funds within the trust can be doled out to the beneficiaries as the grantor sees fit. When the grantor dies, the trustee continues to administer the estate according to his wishes, and probate is avoided entirely.
Michigan property owners can designate another person as a “joint owner” of their property. If this joint ownership includes the “right of survivorship”, title to the property is automatically transferred to the surviving owner when the other owner dies, making probate unnecessary.
Michiganders can designate certain bank accounts as “payable on death” or P.O.D. When an account is designated as P.O.D., the owner of the account retains absolute control of the money within it; however, after their death, ownership of the account is automatically transferred to a specified beneficiary. Thus, P.O.D accounts are not subject to probate.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning. An experienced trusts and estates lawyer can identify the plan that’s right for you in light of your unique situation and objectives.
Michigan residents shouldn’t hesitate to reach out. Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation at no out-of-pocket cost to the client.