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Understanding the Michigan probate process

May 17, 2021 | Estate Planning

When a person passes away, his or her property and other affairs must be addressed. This may be completed through probate in Michigan.


If a person passes away with a valid will, his or her property is distributed according to that will. If a person passes away without a valid will, Michigan’s probate laws decide how to distribute the person’s assets.

Probate is necessary when a person passes away leaving property in his or her name only, like a bank account with no beneficiary designation, real estate, stocks and bonds, vehicles and personal items like clothing, jewelry and furniture.

The estate’s personal representative will be required to account for all of the deceased person’s assets, pay expenses and distribute any remaining assets.

With a supervised administration, the court must review and approve the personal representative’s actions. With an unsupervised administration, the court is involved at the beginning and end of the process, unless there is a request for its involvement by the personal representative or another interested person.

Other property

Some property does not have to go through the probate process. This includes property in a revocable trust, bank accounts with a payable on death designation and cash and personal property up to certain limits.

Michigan law may also allow the estate to go through a shorter process called summary administration, which does not require the appointment of a personal representative. For summary administration to apply, the value of the estate is subject to limitations.

It’s important that the probate process is completed correctly and experienced estate planning attorney can help.