Probate Real Estate Attorneys in Berrien County, MI

When someone in your life passes away and leaves behind real estate property, you might be unclear about what to do with it. At Legacy Counsel PLC, we’re experienced real estate probate attorneys. We can serve as your legal guides throughout the Michigan probate process, particularly regarding real estate transactions, title issues, and more. Let us clarify any questions to ensure your needs are met efficiently and thoroughly.

Serving Southwest Michigan, Legacy Counsel offers a comprehensive suite of services for navigating Michigan real estate probate, handling all aspects from initial application and property valuation to the final real estate transfer.

Call 269-932-4017 for a Consultation.


Understanding Real Estate Property & MI Probate

The deceased owner of an estate is known as the “decedent.” Liquidating the real estate left behind by a decedent (converting their property into cash to settle their estate) is often accomplished through the probate process.

Dealing with real estate probate matters in Michigan can be strenuous for those who go it alone. Whether it involves commercial properties or family homes, the personal representative (called “executor” in other states) must comply with the proper laws and regulations for the transfer of real estate in the jurisdiction where the property is located. Probate can be daunting, especially after the loss of a loved one. However, a Berrien County probate attorney’s experienced and compassionate legal guidance can help ensure a smooth journey.

For Real Estate in Probate, Our Attorneys Help:

  • Value Property & Maximize Assets
  • Minimize Stress During Probate
  • Provide Advice on Managing Real Estate
  • Resolve Property Disputes
  • Outline Personal Representative Duties Clearly
  • Uphold Your Best Interest

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Why Work with Legacy Counsel?

Our services extend beyond being lawyers, by helping heirs and personal representatives protect their assets and navigate probate. We nurture client relationships and remain accessible. From the moment you sign your documents, we commit to being with you and your loved ones every step of the way.

Legacy Clients Benefit From:

  • A Tailored Approach to Real Estate in Probate
  • Clear & Upfront Pricing
  • Regular & Detailed Probate Timelines
  • Open & Honest Communication
  • E-Signature Capability, Virtual Consults & Expedited Services

Real Estate in Michigan Probate

Many times, when someone passes away, their most significant asset is their home. The property might be sold to pay off debts and distribute assets. This is done through Michigan probate court.

What is the MI Probate Process for Real Estate?

If you plan on selling a decedent’s house or other real property, the probate process in Michigan can be complicated. It is helpful to have an attorney present to guide you through the court proceedings and help with legal matters of the estate.

1. Evaluate the Property

Before you can start probate, you need to calculate the real estate value involved. Probate property evaluations require input from real estate experts, such as licensed realtors or certified real estate appraisers, to calculate the decedent’s property value fairly.

Once you have an accurate value, your attorney can determine if probate or other steps are necessary.

2. Petition for Court Approval

In certain situations, you must obtain court approval before a probate sale of real property can occur, which can be done by filing a petition with the court detailing information about the real estate property, including its value.

3. Appoint a Personal Representative

Upon approval, the court will appoint a personal representative. This individual manages and distributes the decedent’s real property throughout the probate process. The courts will provide Letters of Authority stating that the personal representative is legally authorized to manage the decedent’s estate.

The personal representative of a will carries out the decedent’s wishes and divides up the estate and assets accordingly. In addition, the personal representative’s duties pertaining to real estate can include matters like:

  • Valuing the decedent’s property
  • Preparing an inventory of the decedent’s property
  • Securing the real estate to prevent unauthorized access
  • Managing the property, i.e., maintenance, paying property taxes, and paying insurance premiums
  • Keeping records of communications related to the estate’s real property
  • Clearing the title before the sale, e.g., resolving mortgages, liens, and claims against the property

4. Settle the Estate

Settling the estate is the final step of the probate process. This often involves paying any taxes owed, paying off creditors, conducting an inventory of the estate, preparing a final accounting, and handling other estate administration needs.

When court approval is required, once the probate court approves the sale price and buyer, a formal order for sale of the real estate is issued. This document authorizes the personal representative to finalize the transaction. The sale proceeds are used to pay off any remaining debts of the estate, like mortgages or creditors. Then, any leftover funds are distributed to beneficiaries according to the will or according to intestacy laws if no valid will exists.

An attorney from Legacy Counsel PLC can work alongside you and your loved ones to ensure an estate is settled properly so you can move on with your life as efficiently as possible.

Selling Real Estate in Probate

There are two common types of probate real estate sales: formal and informal.

Formal probate sales are the traditional approach to selling real estate after a property owner’s passing. They involve listing the property through a real estate agent before negotiating with prospective buyers.

Informal probate sales generally take less time but have less oversight and may leave more room for complications. They involve negotiating directly with prospective buyers without a listing.

Real Estate in Probate FAQs

How long does settling real estate issues in probate take?

While it depends on the complexity of the estate, probate in Michigan usually takes between several months to a year. Smaller estates may take less time, and disputes or other challenges can lengthen the probate process.

Can you sell jointly-owned property in probate?

Jointly-owned property is not usually included in a decedent’s estate. Jointly held property with right of survivorship passes directly to the surviving owner. This means if one owner of a property passes away, the other owner often acquires the remaining property and that property doesn’t go through probate.

However, exceptions may exist, so consulting with an attorney is recommended.

How does the final property transfer occur in probate real estate sales?

A closing similar to any real estate transaction takes place. This involves signing paperwork, transferring funds, and finalizing outstanding issues like liens or title disputes. Finally, the deed of the property is recorded with the county’s register of deeds office, transferring real estate ownership to the buyer.

What happens to real estate without a valid will?

If there’s no will (or the will is invalid) and the estate is small enough,a small estate court procedure may be available to distribute the property to rightful heirs without lengthy probate court involvement.This option requires specific criteria to be met and may not be applicable in all situations.

Real Estate Probate Attorneys to Protect Your Legacy

Based in St. Joseph, Legacy Counsel PLC is a boutique estate planning and probate law firm serving Southwest Michigan, including Berrien County, Cass County, Van Buren County, and more.

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Call 269-932-4017.