The information, forms, and instructions in this section are intended to provide general information concerning filing procedures for probate proceedings, and it may be useful as a guide. The Court and staff are prohibited by law from providing legal advice. If, after reviewing this information, you have any questions or need assistance in completing the forms contacting an attorney for assistance.
OPENING AN ESTATE
After someone passes away, an estate may need to be opened depending on the individual’s assets. There are times when opening an estate may not be necessary based on how the assets were owned. In addition, other procedures may be available to transfer assets depending on the circumstances. If an estate must be opened, there are two ways to begin the administration process – Formally and Informally.
INFORMAL AND UNSUPERVISED ESTATE PROCEEDINGS
Informal proceedings begin by filing an Application for Informal Probate and/or Appointment of Personal Representative (Testate/Intestate) Form PC 558 and other required documentation, along with a $175 filing fee. If the Application is granted, the Probate Register may admit an original will, and/or appoint a Personal Representative by issuing a Register’s Statement PC 568. [Note that a will informally admitted to Probate may be challenged at any time in a formal testacy proceeding.] An appointed Personal Representative becomes qualified to act by filing an Acceptance of Appointment and any required bond. The Personal Representative will proceed with unsupervised administration until the estate is closed. At any time, an interested party could file a petition requesting that the estate be “Supervised” or the Court may move to do so on its own motion.
*For specific information regarding the forms that may be required for an Informal Estate, please see the List of Forms.
FORMAL PROCEEDINGS (PETITION)
Formal proceedings begin by filing a Petition for Probate and/or Appointment of Personal Representative (Testate/Intestate) Form PC 559 and other required documentation, along with a $175 filing fee. After either a court hearing with proper notice to all interested persons or upon full waiver and consent, the Probate Court Judge may enter an order called an Order of Formal Proceedings, PC 569. This order may admit a will, determine the heirs of the deceased and appoint a personal representative.
Once the order is entered, the Personal Representative qualifies to act by filing an Acceptance of Appointment and any required bond. The personal representative will proceed with the administration until the estate is ready to be closed.
*If you would like to learn more about the forms that may be required for a Formal or Informal Estate, please see the List of Forms.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: There are many resources available in regard to administering an estate. If you would like to read more about the topic, you could visit the State Bar of Michigan, Probate Information page or the Michigan Legal Help website has a section titled Overview of Informal Probate.