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Asset knowledge matters to trust and probate administration

When a person in Michigan prepares an estate plan, his or her will may indicate that certain bequests be made. These bequests may be made to family members, friends, charitable organizations or other recipients as indicated in the document. However, there are other factors to consider besides simply including the bequests in a will to ensure the wishes of the deceased are carried out. These factors can impact trust and probate administration.

For example, a person's will indicated dollar amount bequests to friends and family members, and the testator had multiple accounts that contained sufficient funds to award the bequests. The accounts were described as non-probate assets. Since the account is considered a non-probate asset, the funds in the account are not available for distribution in the probate process. As such, the bequests become adeemed, meaning that they cannot be awarded because the assets are not part of the estate. The estate would pass to the spouse or next of kin, who could choose to honor the bequests.

There are many important details to be considered when establishing an estate plan. Familiarity with how probate and non-probate assets are handled is critical.  Knowledge in this area can help ensure that a person's final wishes are carried out.

When contemplating an estate plan in Michigan, a person my want to confer with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. A lawyer experienced in estate planning will be familiar with all of the issues concerning probate and non-probate assets. Such a consultation could ease the trust and probate administration process.

Source: yourglenrosetx.com, "Be aware of need to coordinate bequests with non-probate assets", Sandra W. Reed, May 7, 2018

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