Traverse City Attorneys Helping with Wills & Probate Law

Michigan law firm dedicated to protecting your estate

When it comes to your estate and the future of your family, it is essential that you create a will that clearly outlines your wishes. At the Phelps Legal Group in Traverse City, we draft and review detailed wills that reflect your preferences upon your death and help your family avoid probate. Our attorneys have the skills and knowledge necessary to ensure that your estate is protected.

How do I set up a will in Michigan?

The goal of a last will and testament is to protect your family and your property after your death. In your will, you can:

  • List who will inherit your property and assets.
  • Name a guardian for your minor children.
  • Name a person to manage any property you leave to minor children until they come of age.
  • Name an executor to ensure that the terms of your will are carried out.

To finalize your will, you must sign it in front of two witnesses. Your witnesses must sign it as well. In Michigan, your will does not have to be notarized to be legal, but it is important that you have a lawyer to make sure that you don’t leave out any important information.

If you die without a will, your property will be distributed according to Michigan’s intestacy laws, meaning it will go to your closest relatives, regardless of your preference. In addition, if you don’t name an executor in your will, the probate court will assign someone. That is why it is imperative to hire an experienced probate attorney at our firm to draft you a will that ensures your wishes are met.

What is the probate process in Michigan?

Probate is a legal process that can occur after someone dies. The goal of this process is to prove if a deceased person’s will is valid. The executor files the will in probate court and must list all of the deceased’s assets and debts. Then, the deceased’s property is appraised, their debts and taxes are paid, and the remaining property is distributed according to either the will or intestacy laws. It is the responsibility of the executor to keep careful records of how the estate is distributed. A skilled probate attorney at our firm can help an executor manage an estate during the probate process.

Can my estate avoid probate?

The probate process is time-consuming and expensive, and most people prefer to avoid it. Probate is only necessary if the deceased person owned property in their own name. To save your family the stress and expense of probate, you can take the following measures during your estate planning:

  • Create a living trust, which allows the trustee to distribute the trust property and avoid probate.
  • Jointly own your property, so it will automatically be passed to your co-owner upon your death.
  • Convert your bank and retirement accounts to “payable-on-death” accounts (POD), which allow your money to go directly to your beneficiaries.
  • Register your stocks and bonds in a “transfer-on-death” form (TOD), so they automatically get transferred to your beneficiaries upon death.

Our experienced probate attorneys in Traverse City can give you reliable advice about how these actions can help your family avoid the probate process after your death.

Contact our Traverse City attorneys for help with your estate today

At the Phelps Legal Group, we are dedicated to drafting detailed wills and helping your family during probate. Call us at 231-421-6577 or use our online contact form. From our Traverse City office, we serve clients throughout the northern Michigan area. All consultations are confidential.

“Eric is very competent, always prepared, and a zealous advocate.”
5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Avvo

“I have known Eric for many years and worked on cases with him occasionally. In addition to all of the above characteristics, he is very organized, quickly responds to phone calls and emails, and follows through.”
5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Avvo

“Eric is professional, discerning, wise and calculated. His knowledge and experience coupled with his foresight make a winning combination in the court room. I give Eric Phelps the highest of recommendations.”
-Lindsay, 5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Avvo

“I came to Mr. Phelps feeling defeated and with an uphill battle before me after being denied my change of domicile request. I had a negative experience with a previous attorney who left me feeling scared, helpless, and completely unprepared. Mr. Phelps listened, and he agreed to take on my change of domicile case at a point when other attorneys had declined. And, I should add he did not take my case for the money, but because he honestly thought he could help me. Mr. Phelps and his team were extremely professional, honest, and treated me with the utmost integrity and respect. He never over promised. He was very prepared for my de novo trial. He exuded a calm demeanor which helped me stay focused. He was the voice of reason during a very stressful time in my life. The end result was the judge granted my request. I would recommend Mr. Phelps and his team without hesitation regarding any family court matter.”
-JH, 5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Avvo

“We have had a wonderful experience with Eric Phelps. He has assisted us throughout our DRC adoption journey and has done so with integrity, honesty and high ethical standards. We would highly highly recommend his services to anyone in need of legal advice and support.”
-Ann, 5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From

“We work with Eric because he has integrity, wisdom and compassion. We have sought his advisement for both business and personal matters and always been pleased with his care and results.”
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