When a loved one passes away, the surviving family members often feel lost and don’t know how to move forward. Was there a will? Was there not? Do they need to file anything with the court?
And what if someone you care about is having difficulty making medical or financial decisions for themselves? Or with carrying out everyday tasks, such as feeding and bathing themselves? What if they are easily confused, forgetful or otherwise at risk of being taken advantage of by others?
Furthermore, what happens when a child with developmental disabilities reaches adulthood? Is there some way to protect the rights of a developmentally disabled adult while making sure that their future needs are met?
If you and your family are faced with any of these questions, an experienced East Lansing & Birmingham probate attorney can help you find the right answers and assist you in successfully navigating the necessary legal processes involved.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of finalizing a person’s estate after they pass away and by which most of a deceased loved one’s assets will pass on to their heirs after they die (in accordance with the directions in their will).
First, a probate court will appoint a personal representative to oversee the decedent’s estate and distribute their assets. The decedent’s creditors will then be given a certain amount of time to file a claim with the estate. After that time, the personal representative of the estate will distribute the estate’s remaining assets to the decedent’s heirs.
Probate in Michigan can be time-consuming and expensive. It is therefore important that you work with an experienced Michigan probate attorney who understands how to navigate the probate process in an efficient and effective manner, saving you and your family both time and money.
Guardianship & Conservatorship
As we age, we may not be able to make necessary decisions ourselves, due to dementia, stokes, or some other serious medical condition. Likewise, an adult dealing with a mental or physical impairment or some other disability may lack the understanding or the ability to make and/or carry out decisions regarding their own care. Guardianship and conservatorship are useful legal tools used to address these types of issues.
What is a Guardianship?
A guardianship is where one person is appointed by a probate court to have custody of and to take care of a minor or of an adult who has been determined by the court to be unable (mentally or physically) to make decisions regarding their need for food and water, clothing, shelter, safety, and/or medical treatment.
A person’s guardian must make and carry out decisions regarding that person’s care, medical treatment, housing, education, physical and emotional support, and maintenance, for example:
• Where the person will live
• When and what the person eats
• Whether the person can drive
• What physicians will treat the person on a regular basis
What is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is where a person or entity, such as a corporation, company, or bank, is appointed by a probate court to manage the financial estate of a minor or of an adult who has been determined by the court to be mentally or physically unable to manage their own financial affairs.
A person’s conservator is responsible to protect and manage that person’s finances and must prudently:
• Use the person’s assets for his or her care and maintenance
• Invest the person’s assets
• Account for all funds received and spent on the person’s behalf
In most cases, a petition must be filed in the probate court of the county where the incapacitated or disabled person lives explaining why a guardianship/conservatorship is needed and why you are qualified for the position. Appointing a guardian or conservator over a person is considered to be the most restrictive option under the circumstances because of the degree to which it restricts the ward’s freedom and independence. As such, before deciding to pursue a guardianship or conservatorship, you should be certain that other less restrictive options will not work, the court will certainly expect you to be.
Contact A Probate Attorney At Abood Law Firm
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The criminal defense and personal injury attorneys at the Abood Law Firm are happy to provide initial consultations at no charge to prospective clients, and are able to advise clients 365 days a year. Contact us today to see how Abood Law Firm in Birmingham and Lansing, MI can help you.