“It’s not easy being green” is a famous quote that comes from the iconic Muppet, Kermit the Frog. Why is this quote being brought up? Because while it’s not easy being green for Kermit, it’s not easy being an probate lawyer for us. We often get asked what kind of law we do. So when we answer “probate law,” the people who asked the question are often left scratching their heads, not knowing what a probate lawyer does. In response to the many head scratches we’ve gotten, let’s go over what it’s like to be a probate lawyer.
First and foremost, let’s make one thing clear – we do not deal with probation. Probate and probation sound like words that would work in pair together, but they’re two totally different things. Probation is obviously dealing with an individual who is on probation.
When it comes to probate though, we are working on the internal affairs of estates. When somebody has died and there’s a property belonging to that person, but has no name set to inherit the property or there’s no joint-ownership, it’s our job to help make sure the property is distributed. You’ve probably heard or read that a will avoids probate, but that’s not the case. Whether or not there is a will, the estate still falls under the probate court’s jurisdiction. The probate court will review how the will is structured and whether the will is valid. The court will also have the ability to determine who the heirs are to the person who passed away.
On top of estates, we often find ourselves involved with guardianships, which is something that also falls under the probate court’s jurisdiction. A guardianship is when the probate court appoints an individual to oversee the estate of someone who cannot make important life decisions on their own. This means someone will make important decisions such as where the person lives. The goal is to make sure the guardian is serving in the best interest of the individual in need of a guardianship. In Michigan, there are also conservatorships, which is when the court appoints someone to manage the finances of another individual.
There’s much more to talk about as far as what we do. Darren Findling explains what it’s like to be a probate lawyer and what probate attorneys work on.
If you’re in need of a probate attorney, be sure to give The Probate Pro a call today at (833)-PROBATE. Call us today for a free case evaluation and we’ll be glad to work with you on anything related to probate.