Answers to Frequently Asked Michigan Probate Litigation Questions
At Galloway and Collens, PLLC, we take an educational and informative approach to the practice of estate law. We take time to explain the issues in each case, possible legal strategies that could be employed and how we see the case unfolding. To help you better understand probate litigation, we present answers to some of the questions you might have about the probate litigation process.
You probably have specific questions about your case. Call us at 248-545-2500 to schedule a consultation with probate litigation lawyer Howard H. Collens.
What does Michigan probate court do?
These types of cases are heard in probate court:
Malfeasance by personal representatives or administrators
Unreasonable delay in completing the probate process
Disputes over the valuation of estate assets
A personal representative who does not distribute estate assets according to the terms of the will
Unreasonable fees and costs paid to the personal representative or administrator
Existence of multiple wills
Construction of unclear wills
Malfeasance by trustees
Inadequate payout of trust proceeds
Mismanagement of trust assets
Unreasonable fees and costs paid to trustees
Removal of trustees
Construction of unclear trust documents
Contested guardianships and conservatorships
Qualifications of proposed guardians or conservators
Representation of people who think they are capable of managing their affairs and don’t need supervision
Disputes between family members or other interested parties over who should be the guardian or conservator
Removal of guardians or conservators
Termination of guardianships and conservatorships
Galloway and Collens, PLLC, has the knowledge, resources and advocacy skills necessary to handle any of these disputes.
How do you establish the qualifications of a proposed fiduciary?
The court will consider who has the highest statutory priority to be a fiduciary. It will consider who is named in the will and whether a proposed fiduciary is suitable, willing and able to carry out fiduciary responsibilities. The court will also want to hear evidence concerning education and experience of the proposed fiduciary, as well as evidence attesting to the reliability, good judgment and probity of that person.
I have a bad credit rating. Can I serve as a fiduciary?
In many jurisdictions, including Wayne County, if you can’t be bonded, then you can’t serve as a fiduciary. This prevents many people with bad credit ratings from serving in the fiduciary role. There are ways around this, however. It may be possible for you to serve as a co-fiduciary, either with another party or with Galloway and Collens, PLLC, as the co-fiduciary. Our law firm can also serve as fiduciary.
I started representing myself in probate court, but I quickly became overwhelmed by the process. Can your law firm represent me?
Yes. We can take over your case and provide results-oriented and responsive representation.
Is it possible to appeal an adverse probate court ruling?
Yes. You must appeal within 21 days of the issuance of the final order. The case will then be referred to Circuit Court or the Michigan Court of Appeals.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
This depends. It can take many months to resolve a case in court. Seeking a resolution outside court can achieve results in less time, and with less expense. Our firm has had success achieving results using alternative dispute resolution techniques such as negotiation and mediation. These techniques have many advantages over a long and drawn-out court fight.
How much will it cost?
Again, this depends on many factors, including the complexity of the case, the types and number of expert witnesses required, the costs of discovery and the attitude of the other party. Before recommending litigation, attorney Howard H. Collens will explain the potential costs so that you can make an informed decision.
Galloway and Collens, PLLC, has extensive experience in probate litigation and breach of fiduciary duty cases. When representing you, we will work diligently to protect your rights and achieve your goals.