Definition of Probate
The word “probate” is commonly used to refer to the legal process that happens after a person (the"decedent") dies, regardless of whether the person died with a valid will or without a valid will. If a decedent dies with a will, then their property is distributed according to the will. If a person dies without a will, then Michigan probate laws dictate how the decedent's assets are distributed.
The Probate Process in Michigan
There are four main steps involved for the probate court:
Types of Estate Administration
The process of administering the estate will vary depending on whether or not the decedent had a valid will and the type of probate administration the decedents estate will have to go through.In Michigan, if a decedent's estate is small enough, Michigan law allows the estate to be probated using an expedited process (summary administration) that does not require the appointment of a personal representative.
|Code Section||MCL Chapter 700: Estates and Protected Individuals Code|
|Types of Probate Administration||
Small Estate: (Summary Administration)
1. Fill out a petition (PDF) and pay the filing fee.
2. The estate must meet certain assest guidelines, i.e. be under $22,000.
Formal Administration (2 Types) - if estate is worth more than $22,000
1. Supervised Administration: requires the court to review and approve the actions of the personal representative.
|What Assets Go Through Probate?||
Probate is only necessary when a person dies leaving property in his or her own name (such as a house titled only in the name of the
Examples: bank accounts in the decedents name with no co-owner and no beneficiary designation; real estate that is owned by the decedent individually; real estate that is co-owned as tenants in common; stocks and bonds in the decedent's name, tangible possessions such as clothing, jewelry, household furniture, and cars registered in the decedent's name only.
|What Assets Skip Probate Entirely||Property in a revocable trust, real estate owned as joint tenants with a right of survivorship, life insurance policies and retirement accounts with a designated beneficiary, bank accounts with payable upon death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) clause, cash up to $500, motor vehicles (if the value of the vehicle doesn't exceed $60,000 and there are no probate proceedings), watercrafts (if the value doesnt exceed $100,00 and there are no probate proceedings), income tax refunds, and personal property not exceedings $15,000.|
|Who Supervises and Decides Probate Cases?||Michigan Probate Courts|
|Estate Taxes||Michigan does not have a separate estate tax. The law changed as of January 1, 2005.|
|List of Forms||
Probate forms from the Michigan Courts website
Michigan probate laws can be tricky. Please consider contacting a local Michigan probate or estate administration attorney who can help you better understand the current Michigan laws.
Contact a qualified attorney.