Probate

What is Probate?

The term “Probate” refers to the manner of administering the property (the estate) of a deceased or incapacitated individual by a personal representative (PR) under the jurisdiction of one of Michigan’s county Probate courts.

What is Living and Death Probate?

Probate can take two forms, living and death.

Living Probate

  • Guardianship – a Probate procedure that is triggered when one becomes mentally disabled. In this case, the Probate court selects someone, a “Guardian”, to take control of you and your personal affairs.
  • Conservatorship – a Probate procedure that is triggered when one becomes mentally disabled in which the Probate court selects someone to take control only of your assets.

Both of the above “Living Probate” procedures require court appointed agents to file strict accounting and reports on a regular basis.

The entire procedure is expensive, time consuming and part of the public record.

Death Probate

There are 5 Steps in a Death Probate:

  • Filing Probate Petition and the appointment of the Personal Representative
  • Publishing Notice to Decedent’s Creditors
  • Inventory and Appraisal of Assets
  • Payment of Debts, Claims and Taxes
  • Final Distribution and Closing the Estate

How much does Probate cost?

Probate estate administration costs vary. Costs will escalate according to the complexity of issues that affect the estate. However, critics of the system have cited that the average cost of Probate is usually more than 7% of the gross value of the estate.

How long does Probate take?

Again, the timeframe is dependent upon the complexity of the estate; The quickest administration for the closing of an estate is approximately 5 months. However, most estates will take at least one year to close.

Are Probate court proceedings private?

No! All Probate proceedings are public and, as such, anyone can obtain your Probate file and have access to all the details of your personal estate.

Does joint asset ownership avoid Probate?

Assets owned jointly by a husband and wife will pass to the surviving spouse upon the death of the first spouse. However, those previously joint assets will now become “sole” assets, and upon the death of the surviving spouse will be subject to Probate.

Does a Will avoid Probate?

Unfortunately, no. All property that is controlled by your Will must go through the Probate system.