E S T A T E   P L A N N I N G   &   P R O B A T E


estate planning & probate - Select a topic:

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Overview of Probate

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Wills

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Trusts

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Durable Powers of Attorney for financial matters

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Medical Powers of Attorney

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Administration of Estates and Trusts

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When is it time to update your Estate Plan?

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Services of the Firm

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Our Qualifications

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Why You Need a Lawyer

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Free Consultation Why You Need a Lawyer

 


Overview of Probate

Probate is the legal process by which a personís debts are paid and assets are distributed upon his or her death. Estate Administration includes the probate process as well as non-probate transfers of the deceasedís assets. Individual state laws direct the probate court how to distribute the deceasedís estate.

Probate is the procedure for carrying out a person's instructions for handling his or her estate. The probate of some estates may require complex court proceedings, but most estates are handled without the need for a lot of involvement by the court.

Probate and trust administration often involves the transfer of real estate and/or business interests. Our lawyers have extensive experience in decedent, conservator, guardian, probate and trusts and estates, as well as in the administration and preparation of estate tax returns, both federal and Michigan.

Talab Nunley attorneys assist numerous clients with the probate administration process and the trust administration process. Often court procedures and Michigan law can make the probate process confusing. Our job is to simplify the administration process for you and to expedite the administration process as much as possible. TALAB NUNLEY, P.C., has experience serving clients in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

We also have worked with attorneys throughout the country and the world assisting clients with probate or trust administration problems in other geographic areas. The law firm of TALAB NUNLEY, P.C., has attorneys with years of experience in assisting clients in probate and estate administration.



Wills

The principal reason for having a Will is to change the formula set by the state as to who will receive your estate after death. Wills also allow for naming a guardian for minor children; choosing a Personal Representative (Executor); setting aside specific assets for certain individuals or charities; and/or creating a Trust to delay the distribution of assets to persons who may not be ready to manage large sums of assets.

A Will controls those assets which are in your own name. Michigan law permits an individual to write his or her own Will, with or without witnesses. The principal reason to contact TALAB NUNLEY, P.C., is to have a person knowledgeable in the law examine the facts surrounding the ownership of assets and the facts surrounding who is favored the most in the disposition of assets without a Will.

It is only through a questioning process that a proper Will can be prepared. TALAB NUNLEY, P.C., can examine the entire picture and legally explain what happens in your unique situation. A Will is prepared taking into account all of the facts surrounding that person's family history, assets and desires as to who should get what. In Michigan the laws regarding probate have been modernized which allows for a faster process to avoid the tall tales of delay that have haunted the probate process in the past.

Today, with the use of independent administration (no court supervision), court hearings are not needed. The Will need only be deposited with the court so that the named Personal Representative may be authorized to act. The time to complete administration of a normal estate is approximately six to eight months. The Estate tax has been unified resulting in the exemption of tax in more cases.


Trusts

A Trust is a substitute for a Will and a Conservator and as such can eliminate the need to use Probate Court in administering your assets if you become disabled, incompetent, or die. A Trust may also help reduce the risk of inexperienced and unskilled management of property by allowing you to select today an asset manager for the future.

A Trust is a written document of your desires as to the management of assets during your lifetime if you become incapacitated and to whom the assets pass upon your death. It is an arrangement under which one person gives some part or all of their assets to another as Trustee. Those who are to receive benefits from the Trust are known as beneficiaries. The arrangement establishes: (1) Who the beneficiaries will be, what each will receive, and when they will receive it; (2) How much investment authority will be given to the Trustee to meet the needs of the beneficiaries; and (3) What the duration of the Trust will be within the limits allowed by law.

Sometimes, people forget to transfer all of their assets to their Revocable Living Trust, or maybe even acquire new assets and die before the assets are transferred to their Revocable Living Trust. When this occurs, an unintended trip to Probate Court may be necessary. The Declaration of Trust document is a potential safeguard against just such a situation. It indicates that all assets acquired by the individual, whether now or in the future, are being held by him or her on behalf of his or her Trust.

TALAB NUNLEY, P.C., can discuss your estate plan and the advantages of a Living Trust. However, it is just as important to select the proper Trustee as it is to select the proper estate planning attorney. While a well planned Living Trust document can be just a few pages long, well chosen words and instructions can insure that your intentions and planning objectives are met.


Durable Powers of Attorney for financial matters

Many people fail to plan adequately for a lifetime disability. You should be considering the possibility of your disability, that is, your incapacity to legally handle your affairs. Disability can arise from many different causes, such as heart attack, injury, accident, or old age. If you lack the ability to handle your affairs, who can and will do so?

Michigan law provides a mechanism if you fail to act. However, you have no assurances as to whom the court will appoint. Instead you could prepare a document giving a relative or friend the power to act for you.

The "Durable Power of Attorney" is a power of attorney that can go in to effect if you become disabled.
It is also advisable to state in the Durable Power of Attorney document that the person executing the Durable Power of Attorney did so in order to avoid having a conservator appointed. However, the person executing the Durable Power of Attorney should let the Court know their choice for conservator, if one is deemed necessary.



Medical Powers of Attorney

The Michigan legislature recently authorized the use of a (Patient Advocate) or Medical Power of Attorney for Health Care in our state. The Medical Power is used during your lifetime if you should become incapacitated due to illness or an accident. By creating a Medical Power of Attorney for Health Care you can appoint another individual to make decisions concerning your care, custody, and medical treatment when you are unable to participate in medical treatment decisions.

The Medical Power of Attorney for Health Care ensures that your desire to accept or refuse medical treatment is honored when you are unable to participate in medical treatment decisions.


ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES AND TRUSTS

TALAB NUNLEY, P.C., provides all of the legal, accounting, and tax services for the administration of a decedent's estate.

TALAB NUNLEY, P.C., also accepts cases involving litigating contested Wills, Trusts, and Joint Accounts. Theories used by attorneys in contesting a Will or legal documents are undue influence, lack of capacity of the donor or testator, the lack of the requisite formalities in the execution of the Will, deed or legal document, duress, mistake, and fraud.



WHEN IS IT TIME TO UPDATE YOUR ESTATE PLAN?

There are numerous reasons to update your estate plan. Clients often overlook changes in their life which necessitate changes to their Estate Plan. The following are 10 instances when your plan should be reviewed and updated:

  1. Marriage.

  2. The birth of a child.

  3. A significant change in the value/makeup of your Estate.

  4. Divorce.

  5. Relocation to a different state.

  6. Changes in family relationships.

  7. Changes in the law.

  8. Changes in professional or business status and/or relationships.

  9. Death of a spouse.

  10. Death or incapacity of individuals named as fiduciaries in your current plan.

At a minimum, you should always review your plan on an annual basis to consider if any of the above events have occurred. If you are not sure whether these or other events require updating your plan, call your Estate Planning attorney to discuss your situation.


Services of the Firm

Talab Nunley, P.C., provides a full range of services in estate planning and administration. We will assist you in the planning process itself and will prepare all necessary documents, including Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies (Patient Advocate), and related documents. We also handle the Administration of Estates and Trusts, from the simplest to the most complex.

We counsel clients in the following areas:

  • Estate Administration

  • Trust Administration

  • Federal Estate Tax Returns

  • Michigan Estate Tax Returns

  • Gift Tax Returns

  • Durable Power of Attorneys

  • Medical Power of Attorneys (Patient Advocate)

  • Wills and Trusts


OUR QUALIFICATIONS

Many families throughout Michigan are familiar with the professionalism generated personally by our firm. The attorney handing a probate or estate matter is not just an attorney but advocate looking out for your best interest.

Most of our clients were referred to our office by satisfied clients who we assisted in the past. Additionally, other attorneys have referred friends and family members to our office, confident that their matter would be handled by an extraordinary team of professionals in a discrete fashion.

Despite all this, the most important component of our firm is our commitment to our clients. Obtaining the fastest resolution to this terrible time is our goal. We understand the serious of the issues involved, and are 100% committed to helping our clients through the difficult times. Every client is important to our office, and with every person we fight to achieve the quickest possible result.


WHY YOU NEED A LAWYER

Put a Strong Advocate In Your Corner
We will zealously represent your interest in these proceedings and counsel you as your matter progresses. Our firm will do everything possible to ensure your family's comfort in knowing the matter is progressing with due care.

Professionalism With Your Case
Our office will diligently gather all of the documentation, make a determination, and file the appropriate documents on your behalf. It is not a responsibility that should be given to one who is not well versed in the laws that govern estate and trusts.


Free Consultation -- Do I have a case?

Any information that you provide is confidential. Our office will only use this information to determine the viability of a claim on your behalf.

There is no charge or obligation, and any consultation is free. A member of our legal group will review this information and respond immediately.

You can always contact us directly at 1-248-366-5000. Our phones answer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
 

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