What to gather before probate administration can begin?

The executor of an estate has the difficult task of making sure that the estate is closed out properly. This can seem like an overwhelming task for Michigan residents who have never before taken on such a role. If it is not handled appropriately, the executor could be held personally liable. To help probate administration go over smoothly, one could benefit by taking inventory of any assets, legal documents and debts tied to the estate. As soon as all this information is gathered, one can open a case in probate court.

What information should the personal representative gather before probate administration begins? There is actually quite a long list of items that one should have in possession before administering an estate. A few of these items include:

  • Will/Trust
  • Funeral instruction if left by the deceased
  • All financial documents
  • Any life insurance policies
  • Information about debts
  • Information about jointly owned assets
  • Several years' worth of tax returns

Why does having this information matter? Before an estate can be distributed, one must make sure creditors and taxes are paid. One must also make sure all assets are accounted for so that beneficiaries receive what is intended for them. Without taking inventory, probate could drag on longer than necessary if all the required information is not gathered beforehand.

Before opening a case in Michigan probate court, an experienced attorney can help the executor review all of this information in order to make sure everything is set and ready for probate administration. With legal counsel at one's side, the executor can also be sure that he or she is taking all the appropriate steps in closing out the estate so that it can be done without error. While this is not an easy thing to get through, with assistance it can be completed as swiftly and smoothly as possible.

Source: thebalance.com, "How to Probate an Estate: Inventory, Documents & Assets", Julie Garber, Accessed on June 15, 2017