When it comes to estate planning, you will hear the word “probate” often. While it is a common term, not many people know exactly what it means. Read on to learn more about the probate process in Michigan.

What is probate?

When a loved one passes away, his or her estate will generally enter the probate process. Essentially, probate is the process through which an estate is closed.

How is an estate closed?

After an individual passes away, his or her estate will need to be closed. However, an estate can only be closed once the following criteria are met:

  • The estate must be open for a minimum of five months
  • A notice to creditors was published at least four months before closing
  • Inventory fees were paid
  • Estate and inheritance taxes were paid, along with proof of payment

What are the different types of proceedings?

It is important to understand that in Michigan, there are both formal and informal probate proceedings. Formal probate proceedings generally take place in front of a judge in court and are used when there are disputes over the will– for example, if a beneficiary contests the validity of the will. An informal probate proceeding is more simple and occurs in front of a probate register.

What kind of matters are handled in probate court?

When someone plans their estate, they generally choose a personal representative. This individual is responsible for closing the estate. Probate refers to the administering of a decedent’s property by a personal representative. If the deceased party did not choose a personal representative, then the court will appoint its own personal representative to administer the estate. There are three steps involved in the administration of a decedent’s estate:

  1. Marshaling of assets
  2. Payment of charges
  3. Distribution of the remaining assets to the estate beneficiaries

If you have any questions or concerns about the probate process in Michigan, our firm is here to help. Contact our firm today to discuss your options.

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