Farwell, MI asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan

Q: Clarification of requirements to properly settle affairs of second to die spouse with A/B trust.

Scenario is settling affairs of second to die spouse with A/B trust in place along with pour-over will, and personal property transfer document. First settlor died 15 years ago, second settlor is still alive.

Irrevocable portion of trust currently contains properly titled real property and financial assets. Financial assets currently outside trust include retirement accounts TOD to named beneficiaries per stirpes and regular taxable accounts TOD/POD to trust. Very likely there are no unaccounted-for assets/liabilities. Since personal property is held by trust, only remaining asset is a <$60k automobile.

My understanding is that no interaction with probate is required and the automobile can be transferred by TR-29 at SOS. Trust contains provisions for covering final expenses so the value of the estate would actually be <$0 after accounting for final expenses.

Is my understanding correct for this scenario? Decedent and trust income taxes are out of scope.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Trent Harris
Trent Harris
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Jackson, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: It sounds like you are on the right track, based on what information you provided in your question. The decision whether probate is necessary usually hinges on whether there are any assets which require probate administration. Opening a probate estate is sometimes done even if there are not assets, if the personal representative needs court authority to obtain access to the decedent's accounts and records.

For a definitive answer to all your questions, please set up a consult with a local probate attorney, and take any documents you have so he or she can review them.

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