An Explanation of How Probate Works In Michigan

Bloomfield Township estate planning lawyer

Probate refers to how estates get settled officially under court supervision. The court appoints a person. Usually, an adult child or a surviving spouse in the absence of a will or the deceased person’s will nominates a person. Once this person known as the Personal Representative or executor has been appointed, he or she is given the legal mandate to gather and value assets the estate owns, to pay taxes and bills, and distribute assets to beneficiaries or heirs.

Probate is designed to combat fraud after a person’s death. It freezes the estate until a court of law determines that the will is valid, all property in the estate has been located and appraised, a notification was sent out to concerned parties, there is a settlement of liabilities and payment of taxes. The court issues an order after all that has been done to distribute the property, and the estate is closed.

How Probate Works In Michigan

The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) is a set of laws that spell out the general procedure involved in settling an estate through probate in Michigan. Michigan is among the 15 states that have adopted The UPC albeit with minor variations.

Under the UPC in Michigan, there are three kinds of probate proceedings: supervised formal, unsupervised, and informal.

  • Supervised Formal Probate

Supervised formal probate refers to one whereby the court comes in to supervise the entirety of the probate process. Under supervised formal probate, the court has to approve the distribution of any property in such proceedings.

  • Unsupervised Formal Probate

All formal probates are court proceedings even for the unsupervised ones. The judge must first approve some actions the Personal Representative takes including paying a lawyer, asset distribution, or selling estate property.

A judge is involved in settling disputes arising among the beneficiaries over the meaning of a will, asset distribution, or the amounts due to particular creditors. The informal probate process cannot work in case of disputes, and that is when the court comes in.

  • Informal Probate

In Michigan, the majority of probate proceedings are informal. Informal probate is a common procedure when there are no creditor issues to resolve, beneficiaries and heirs are getting along, and no problems at all are expected.

The informal probate process starts once you file an application with the probate court to act as the estate’s “Personal Representative” or executor. After the approval of the application, you are now legally mandated to act on behalf of the estate. You will then receive from the court what is referred to as “Letters testamentary.”

Once you receive the letters, you are required to do the following:

  • Ensuring the safety of all the property
  • Distributing the property once the estate closes
  • Preparing an inventory and appraisal of the assets of the estate
  • Publishing a notice in a local newspaper alerting other creditors
  • Providing proof that you have issued the notice and mailed notices
  • Sending out formal notices to beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors you are aware of

Once there is a distribution of property, an informal proceeding is closed by filing a “final accounting” with probate court along with a “closing statement” stating that you have distributed the property, paid all taxes and debts, and filed the accounting.

Final Thoughts

If you have been wondering about how probate works in Michigan, now you have your answer. The most important thing is to ensure that you find an estate planning or probate lawyer to help you follow the right steps and ensure the best outcome possible.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Our Michigan Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Einheuser Legal, P.C. is an estate planning law firm in Bingham Farms, Michigan. We help families set up wills and living trusts. Attorney Michael Einheuser is an experienced estate planning lawyer serving residents in Bingham Farms, Troy, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Southfield, West Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Township.

Schedule your free consultation today by calling 248-398-4665.

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