Livonia, MI asked in Probate for Michigan

Q: If i didn't sign as a guarantor on any court document, am i liable for attorney fees and burial expenses?

My cousin and brother brought this inheritance to probate court and signed all paperwork before the attorney located myself and another brother. I believe that if i did not sign any form of guarantee that all legal fees and burial expenses should be the responsibility of the individuals who did sign.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fowlerville, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: They are generally the responsibility of the ESTATE to pay which means it becomes a 'proportional' expense that all heirs/devisees share in paying through the mechanism of 'lowering the distribution'.

Look at it this way, if the $100,000 house in a probate estate has a mortgage of $50,000 against it your 'probate asset' is worth $50k and you don't get to inherit a share of 100k just because you didn't sign to be responsible for the mortgage. This works the same way with funeral and estate expenses. They are generally paid 'off the top' of the estate and you would thus inherit 'less'.

Assuming this is what you're asking, you PERSONALLY are not responsible for the costs, but they will be subtracted from whatever you inherit, absent some rather unusual circumstances, which you don't mention. If you have questions, I would urge you to consult with a local attorney who can review all the paperwork and provide specific advice instead of 'general information' which is what this forum is geared toward.

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