What Is “Simplified Probate” in Michigan?

Have you lost someone close to you in Michigan? If so, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and confused as you attempt to deal with complex estate matters while grieving. You should know that your loved one’s estate might qualify for a simplified probate process that could allow you to handle their assets quickly and with minimal stress. Here’s what you need to know about simplified probate in Michigan.

What Is Probate?

When someone dies, their assets, like houses, bank accounts, and personal belongings, make up their estate. Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s will is validated and their assets get distributed to their heirs and designated beneficiaries and any debt the person owed to creditors gets paid off. 

Typically, the probate process begins when someone files the deceased’s will with a local probate court. If there is no will, the court appoints someone to handle the distribution of the deceased person’s estate according to Michigan law. The court oversees the entire probate process to ensure the estate is handled fairly, according to the deceased’s wishes and state law. 

What Is “Simplified Probate”?

Simplified probate is a quicker, less complicated process for settling smaller estates. Michigan law allows this process when the total value of the deceased’s estate does not exceed a certain amount. This method allows heirs to avoid the longer, more formal probate process and settle the estate more swiftly and with less paperwork.

Which Estates Qualify for Simplified Probate in Michigan?

simplified probate process is available in Michigan for smaller estates with a total value that does not exceed $50,000 after funeral and burial expenses. Here’s how it works:

First, someone must show evidence that they have paid the deceased’s funeral and burial costs. If these expenses have been paid and the remaining estate is worth $50,000 or less, the court can approve a simplified probate process. During this simplified process, the estate’s assets get distributed to the surviving spouse or, if there is no spouse, to other surviving heirs. If someone other than the estate has paid funeral and burial expenses, the estate must first reimburse that person. After this, the remaining assets can be distributed in the same simplified way.

As of January 2024, there are new rules for how to handle real estate when calculating an estate’s value. If an estate includes real property (like a house) that is securing a debt, you can subtract up to $250,000 of this debt from the property’s value to assess whether the estate meets the $50,000 threshold.

Contact a Michigan Probate Lawyer Today

Are you ready to start the simplified probate process in Michigan, or do you have questions about how it works? Bingham Legal Group PC is here to help. Our lawyers can guide you through Michigan’s court system, handle the legal details, and provide the support you need during this time. Contact us today for an initial consultation, and let us help you manage your loved one’s estate with care and efficiency.