Most people regard the term “Probate Court” as a curse or something which, if you get too close, just might bite. But the probate court can provide oversight and protection that you might just need to invoke.
When would you want to do that?
You might, for instance, if you stand to inherit some funds from a trust but it appears that the “successor trustee” is
compensating herself excessively and
receiving trust assets as a beneficiary (gift recipient) of the trust.
In Michigan a Probate Court has jurisdiction to intervene and oversee the administration of a trust if requested by a “qualified beneficiary.” A qualified beneficiary is someone who is listed in a trust either to receive something from it or who, under the terms of the trust, could receive something from it.
A Michigan Probate Court may exercise control over several aspects of the trust administration, if certain criteria are met, including:
The appointment or removal of a trustee.
By reviewing the fees charged or receive by a trustee.
Requiring the submission of, and review or settle interim or final accounts.
Determining the powers, immunity, privilege and duties of a trustee to the trust.
Many people set avoidance of probate as their goal. But, a Court of Probate might just prove useful if you experience difficulty protecting – or even determining – your rights and entitlements as the recipient (or potential recipient, if everything isn’t spent first) of assets from a trust.
If you need to get more information about the trust, the trustee, or books and records of the trust and trust assets, turning or going to Probate Court may just be something that you want to do.