Page 27 - Senior Times South Central Michigan December 2020 - 27-12
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Ask the
Senior Times - December 2020
Page 27
Wills • Trusts • Powers of Attorney
Lady Bird Deeds • Nursing Home Planning
Don't Lose Everything You Have To the Nursing Home
I can help you save up to 100% of your assets.
Michael B. Walling, J.D., LL.M.
Let me help you properly draft and fund a trust before you or your spouse enter a nursing home; it could save you over $50,000!
Elder Law Attorney
Author of "Ask the Attorney"
  Call for a free
initial consultation*.
*Except Asset Protection Planning
(269) 968-1101
Offices in Battle Creek & Kalamazoo
Helping seniors for over two decades.
QUESTION: My Mother passed away and she has an investment account, a few shares of stock, and some checks made payable to her. The total amount of everything is around $25,000. When I contact-
ed the investment place and the stock place they said I needed to be appointed personal representative. I called an attorney and they said that a probate is about $3,000 to $5,000. And will take about eight months
 to complete. Do I have any other options?
be a good choice. Since the Will is not admitted to the probate court, it is not followed. In that case, all of the money that your Mother wanted to go the Humane Society would instead go to the heirs. To take that one step further, if you Mother did NOT want one of her heirs to get any money, they will end up getting it anyway.
ANSWER: Maybe. You may be able to qualify for a Small Estate through the Probate court. A Small Estate is
a probate where the total amount of assets is less than $24,000. If you paid for your Mother’s funeral, that amount is subtracted from the total amount of assets. For example, if the total amount of assets is $25,000 and the funeral costs $5,000, then the total amount of assets is $20,000 for the purposes of the Small Estate ($25,000 - $5,000 = $20,000). Also, the Small Estate gener- ally only takes a few weeks.
My advice is to see an attorney who handles probate cases. They can tell you how the money would end up if you did the Small Estate or if you did the regular Probate.
It all sounds good but the Small Estate does have some drawbacks. First, the Small Estate does not appoint a personal representative. Second, the Will is not admitted to the Probate court. This means that the money is paid first to reimburse whoever paid for the funeral and second to the heirs. As such, if your Mother’s Will says that everything is to go to the Humane Society, then a Small Estate would not
Michael B. Walling is an Elder Law attorney with an advanced Master
of Laws degree. He manages the
Elder Law Center and the law firm of Michael B. Walling, PLC. Mr. Walling is also a part-time Professor at Western Michigan University. Please email any questions you would like addressed to: This column is intended for general information pur- poses only and should not be consid- ered as legal advice to any particular person.
Michael Walling, Special to Senior Times
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