A recent probate scandal in Michigan resulted in some families losing their homes and thousands of dollars, exposing even more reasons why you want to avoid the probate process whenever possible. The good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure your family does not have to go through probate when you pass away.
In Michigan, Attorney General-appointed lawyers – called Public Administrators – teamed with a real estate broker to sell homes without the rightful owners’ consent. The Public Administrators would find houses owned by someone who died recently and, if no heirs quickly came forward to officially claim the property, a Public Administrator would open what’s known as a probate case on the home.
At this point, a real estate firm and a “probate asset recovery” company (both owned by the same person) would swoop in and sell the home, while billing the estate for thousands of dollars and getting a commission on the sale.
Ultimately, the rightful heirs lose the home and 25-33 percent of their inheritance.
Could these families have avoided this mess? The answer is YES.
What the Public Administrators did was illegal and many families were damaged in the process. Keeping your assets out of probate means third parties with bad intentions keep their hands out of your estate – a very good thing.
Who benefits from probate? The lawyers, as legal fees can be substantial.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take today to avoid putting your family through the probate process. Sometimes people think they can avoid probate by simply having a Will. NOT SO – no matter what state you’re in. A Last Will guarantees your family will go through probate. The only way to avoid probate is through a properly funded Trust.
This article was shared by Katie Charleston Law
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