Probate Courts are one option for keeping your will confidential and a safe environment.
DEPOSITING YOUR WILL WITH LAPEER PROBATE COURT
Wills placed on file with Lapeer County Probate Court are not public records during the testator’s lifetime. Therefore, your will and any information regarding your will, will not be released to anyone except you or a person you designate. A copy of the document can only be released upon proof of death.
You must be a Lapeer County resident to deposit your will with the Probate Court. There is a $25.00 filing fee to file the will.
The will should be placed in a sealed envelope and have the following information on the outside:
- Name, address and last four digits of the testator’s social security number
- Date delivered
**Lapeer Probate Court can provide the envelope for your convenience.
While your will is filed for safekeeping, the Probate Court will not disclose that it is on file. It will not be released to anyone, except you or your designee.
Please note that after a Testator passes away and proof is provided to the Court, the will becomes public and copies can be released to anyone.
RETRIEVAL OF WILLS
During your lifetime, you may retrieve your will at any time. To retrieve your will, you must present your will receipt, if available, and personal identification. If you are unable to present yourself personally, you must complete the form Authorization to Release Will Held for Safekeeping PC 548 to the court before your will is released.
WILLS LOCATED IN A SAFE DEPOSIT BOX
If you are searching for a will for an individual that passed away, the Probate Court may order the opening of a safe deposit box to locate a will or burial deed.
Per MCL 700.2517, an interested person can file a Petition and Order to Open Safe Deposit Box to Locate Will or Burial Deed Form PC 551 if:
- The safe deposit box is located in Lapeer County
- A copy of the decedent’s death certificate is presented to the Court
- The fee for this filing is $20.00 ($10.00 filing fee, plus $10.00 for certified copy) of the order.
Once the Probate Court Judge signs the Order, a certified copy of the order should be taken to the financial institution. An officer or other authorized employee of the financial institution where the box is located must be present when the box is opened. The petitioner and the representative from the financial institution must complete the Safe Deposit Certificate and Receipt Form PC 552. The completed form must be filed with the Probate Court within seven (7) days. If an alleged Will or deed to a burial plot is found in the box, the person named in the order must deliver the documents to the Probate Register or deputy register.