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How Does Probate Start in Michigan?

Probate can be stressful, protracted, and confusing. The process can feel equally challenging for the person administering the recently departed individual’s estate and the decedent’s surviving loved ones. However, the successful completion of probate can allow the person’s heirs to move forward with clarity. 

The early steps of probate are among the most vital moments in the process, as a strong foundation will increase the likelihood of its ultimate success. Here is what personal representatives and family members need to know about how probate starts in Michigan.

Filing a Petition for Probate

The first step in initiating probate in Michigan is to file a petition for probate with the probate court in the county where the decedent lived at the time of their death. The petition must include information about the decedent, their property, and their heirs or beneficiaries. It should also nominate a personal representative to oversee the administration of the estate. This person will be named in the decedent’s will.

Providing Notice to Interested Parties

Once the petition for probate has been filed, the court will issue an order setting a date and time for a hearing on the petition. The personal representative must then notify all interested parties of the hearing, including the decedent’s heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors. This notice must be sent by mail or published in a local newspaper, depending on the circumstances.

Attending the Probate Hearing

At the probate hearing, the court will determine whether the decedent left a valid will and whether the nominated personal representative is qualified to serve in that role. If there is no will, the court will appoint a personal representative based on Michigan’s intestate succession laws. Once the personal representative has been appointed, they will receive letters of authority from the court, allowing them to begin administering the estate.

Inventory and Appraisal of Estate Assets

One of the personal representative’s first tasks is to create an inventory of all the decedent’s assets and have them appraised. This includes real estate, vehicles, personal property, bank accounts, investment accounts, and any other assets owned by the decedent at the time of their death. The inventory and appraisal must be filed with the court and provided to all interested parties. 

Once this step has been completed, the personal representative will begin paying the estate’s debts, expenses, and taxes. They can then commence the process of distributing the remaining assets to the decedent’s heirs before going to court to seek approval to close the estate.

Contact an Experienced Michigan Probate Lawyer Today

Going through probate can be overwhelming, especially when you are still grieving your loved one’s passing. Working with a legal representative with a thorough knowledge of Michigan probate law can help you feel confident as you move forward. The seasoned team at Bingham Legal Group PC has more than 60 years of experience helping clients work through the probate process, and we are ready to get to work for you. Contact us now for a consultation to learn more about how we can help you.