Probate And Estate Administration
Probate is the orderly distribution of the decedent's assets that are titled in the sole name of the deceased individual. To a greater or lesser extent, depending on the type of Estate Administration, it is administered under the jurisdiction of the Probate Court. Generally, the estate is administered in the county that the deceased resided in at the time of death.
If there is a Last Will and Testament, Estate Administration is conducted under the terms and conditions referenced in the decedent's Last Will and Testament. A Personal Representative that the decedent named in the Last Will and Testament petitions the Probate Court for admission of the Will. It is the Personal Representative's legal responsibility to administer the estate in accordance with the decedent's instructions under the Last Will and Testament.
If a decedent died without a Will, the State of Michigan has statutes that provide for the distribution of assets in accordance with the surviving relatives of the decedent. This is called Intestate Succession and is governed by the following Michigan Statutes:
- MCL 700.2101 Read More
- MCL 700.2102 Read More
- MCL 700.2103 Read More
- MCL 700.2104 Read More
- MCL 700.2105 Read More
Estate Administration requires the filing of a number of documents in order to properly transfer the assets of the decedent's estate to the distributees referenced in the Will or the heirs as designated under the Michigan Intestate Statutes. Some of the documents filed in Probate Court to proceed with Estate Administration are as follows:
Petition For Probate And/Or Appointment Of Personal Representative
This is the initial document filed with the Probate Court. It provides information about the decedent such as an estimate of the value the probate estate, the names of the heirs or distributees, and information about the Last Will and Testament.
Acceptance Of Appointment
The nominated Personal Representative accepts appointment and submits to the personal jurisdiction of the Probate Court.
Testimony To Identify Heirs
This document provides verification of the decedent's family status
Bond of Fiduciary
The Personal Representative is sometimes required to file a bond to guarantee proper Estate Administration and proper distribution of the decedent's assets in accordance with the Last Will and Testament or the Michigan Intestate Statutes.
Notice Of Appointment And Duties Of Personal Representative
The Personal Representative must send a Notice of Appointment and Duties of Personal Representative form to all interested parties.
Notice To Creditors
Probate statutes require the Personal Representative to publish a Notice to Creditors in a newspaper in the County of Estate Administration that lists the name and address of the decedent. The notice also lists name and address of the Personal Representative. Creditors of the estate must file their claims against the estate with the Personal Representative.
An inventory of the assets which lists fair market value of the assets at the time of the decedent's death must be presented to the Probate Court. The Probate Court computes an inventory fee payable to the Probate Court based on the fair market value listed on the inventory.
Account Of Fiduciary
The Personal Representative must file an annual Account of Fiduciary Form each year the estate is administered. This account summarizes the income received during the year and the disbursements made during the year by the Personal Representative for that one year period.
Schedule Of Distributions And Payment Of Claims
Once the estate is ready to be distributed, the Personal Representative must file a Schedule of Distributions and Payment of Claims form. This lists amounts to be paid to creditors, distributees and heirs at law. It also lists the date of the distribution.
Order For Complete Estate Settlement
Once distributions are completed and claims have been paid, the Personal Representative files an Order to close the estate administration.
Order Of Discharge
Once the Order for Complete Estate Settlement has been entered, the Personal Representative must file an Order of Discharge of the Personal Representative. This discharges the Personal Representative and cancels the requirement of a Bond of Fiduciary.
Certificate Of Completion
The Personal Representative files a Certificate of Completion with the Probate Court. The purpose is to formally close the Estate Administration.