Estate Planning and Probate

Lawyer and Attorney Having Team Meeting — Grandville attorney in Grandville, MI
Most people think of estate planning prior to a vacation, or upon the occasion of the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, or divorce. It is important to maintain an updated estate plan as assets change, circumstances change and laws change. Attorney James L. Koetje has extensive experience helping to create and maintain appropriate estate plans. Estate Plans can be very simple or very complex depending upon your situation. It is important to remember that everyone has different estate planning needs. Our clients range from senior citizens enjoying retirement, young couples starting a family, established business owners, parents with minor children and families with incapacitated members. Whatever your situation is, we can advise you on what best fits your needs. Attorney Koetje can assist in preparing:
  • Wills
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Durable Power of Attorneys
  • Patient Advocates
  • Living Wills
  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Educational Trusts
  • Special Needs Trust for Disabled Individuals
  • Guardian - naming for minor children
  • Guardian/Conservatorship for incapacitated individuals.
It does not matter if your estate is large or small to be in need of estate planning tools. Our office can review these matters with you and give direction and guidance to you as you determine your estate plans.

Probate Administration When a family member dies or becomes incapacitated, estate administration is necessary. Attorney James L. Koetje can assist with all aspects of probate administration in probate courts in Michigan. Estate Administration can consist of:
  • Decedent Estates
  • Small Estate Administration
  • Probate Proceedings
  • Trust Administration
  • Guardian and Conservatorship (for minors or incapacitated individuals)
Frequently Asked Questions.

What is a Trust?
A Trust is a Document often used by individuals to manage and hold assets during the lifetime of the creator (often referred to as the grantor) of the trust, and then, to continue that management after the death of the creator/grantor. Many times, a trust created during lifetime will be for the sole benefit of the creator during his lifetime, and the benefit of his spouse and minor children. A trust can be used for purposes of avoiding probate of assets upon the death of the creator, for estate tax planning purposes, and, often to delay the final distribution of the assets of the creator following the death of the creator. These events might include such things as a child reaching a certain age, graduating from college, or getting married. The terms of a trust generally have more opportunity for flexibility and creativity than a will. Because it is a more complicated document than a will, a trust costs more to prepare than does a will.

What is a Will?
A will is a person's written directive of what to do regarding property and other matters upon death. Within a will, one can direct what happens to his/her property upon his/her death. Within a will, you may appoint a personal representative to administer your estate. A parent with minor children may also designate who is to be appointed as the guardian or conservator of the minor children. The law places a priority on the designation given by the parent in a will regarding the appointment of the guardian or conservator for a minor child of the now deceased parent. A will designates who takes probatable assets, loosely defined as those that are individually owned at date of death.

What is a Living Will/Medical Power of Attorney?

A Medical Power of Attorney also referred to as a Living Will is the designation of a person who will make the end of life decisions you want made on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

What is a Power of Attorney?

Powers of Attorney give the person you designate the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf without having to seek that authority from the Probate Court. A Power of Attorney can be effective upon your disability or effective now (upon signing).

What is Probate Administration?
Upon the death of an individual there could be Probate Court proceedings/Administration. Decedent estates are typically informal proceedings filed with the Probate Court. The appointment of Personal Representative and admission of the Will are the first steps in a decedent estate. Probate administration is typically necessary when a decedent has assets in his/her name alone.