How Probate Laws Work in Michigan

When a person passes away, their estate is left for others to take care of and distribute. Even as the family members are still grieving over their loss, they must care for the assets owned by the deceased person. They have other obligations to assume during this time.

Probate is the legal process for handling a deceased person’s estate. Anyone involved in the estate should understand how probate works in Michigan.

Is Probate Required in Michigan?

Probate is required by state statute in Michigan. While the majority of estates will need to go through the probate process, there are a few exceptions.

How Do You Avoid Probate in Michigan?

It is possible to avoid probate with an estate if it is placed in its entirety into a revocable living trust. The trust becomes the owner of the property instead of the person, who is now the trustee. The named beneficiaries will become the new trustees of the trust once the person is deceased.

Many times, some assets may not be included in probate even if the estate can’t avoid it completely. These assets would have someone named as a beneficiary. Some prime examples include life insurance policies, retirement accounts, securities and even bank accounts with someone listed as payable on death.

Any assets owned jointly by two or more people would go to the surviving owners when the one owner is deceased. This can include real property as well as other assets.

Can an Executor of an Estate in Michigan be Compensated?

Yes, an executor of an estate is allowed to receive compensation for the work they do on the estate. They can also be paid for any expenses they have while working on it.

How Much Does an Executor in Michigan Get Paid?

Michigan doesn’t specify an amount or percentage of the estate that an executor can or should be paid. The idea is that compensation should be reasonable based on the work they did and what similar estates have paid in the past.

How Long Does Probate Take in Michigan?

The time for probate to be finished and closed will vary based on the size and complexity of the estate. Probate cannot be completed in less than five months since creditors are given four months to file a claim against the estate. It often takes much longer than five months, and probate can last well over a year with delays. Statutes say that probate should be finished within one year, but special circumstances may cause it to go longer.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Michigan?

Most estates will need to go through probate in Michigan. However, Michigan does allow for a simplified version of probate as long as the estate meets the requirements. The value of the estate must be less than $15,000. Otherwise, the estate can only be large enough to pay for the expenses of the final illness as well as the funeral, homestead allowance and a few expenses.

If the small estate doesn’t contain any real property and is less than $15,000, probate isn’t necessary at all. An affidavit is all that is needed to claim the assets of the deceased.

When probate isn’t necessary, any vehicles owned by the decedent would go to the next of kin as long as they aren’t valued at more than $60,000. The heir would need to fill out a form from the department of motor vehicles, which would allow them to transfer the title.

Does a Will Have to Be Probated in Michigan?

When a person dies, their will must be filed with the court in the county where the decedent lived until their death. Even if there is no estate, the will still goes on record. If there is ever a dispute, the court would need to prove that the will is valid.

Settling an Estate in Michigan

To settle an estate, you must follow specific steps as outlined in the state statutes. While all the states are similar to how probate is handled, each one has its own statutes and deadlines. It’s helpful for all involved parties to understand the basics of probate.

Even though these steps sound simple, the process can be complicated and time-consuming. If you have questions at any point, you can contact a probate attorney for legal advice.

How Long Do You Have to File After a Death in Michigan?

Michigan doesn’t give a timeline to file probate after someone dies. However, a creditor can petition to have it opened if it hasn’t been done so in a timely manner.

Probate Court in Michigan

Michigan is one of the few states to have a separate probate court system. There are 78 probate courts in the state, each with its own judge which is elected to a six-year term. You can locate a specific court on the Michigan Courts website under the court directories https://courts.michigan.gov/Self-help/Directories/Pages/trial-court-directory.aspx where the probate courts are listed as part of the trial courts. You can find out more on the website for each court, which is listed in the trial court directories found on the same Michigan Courts website https://courts.michigan.gov/Self-help/Directories/Pages/Website-Directory.aspx.

Probate Code in Michigan

The statutes governing probate in Michigan are found in the state’s code in Chapter 7001-713 You can read these statutes on the Michigan Legislature website Michigan Legislature – Chapter 700.

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