Michigan Probate Laws FAQ
When is Probate Necessary?
A person’s property is handled by probate courts if they leave behind property that is solely in their own name.
How Long Does Probate Take?
Most probate cases take between seven months and one year. That timing depends on how quickly the personal representative is appointed.
Creditors and potential contestations also impact timing. Creditors have four months to file a claim. If someone contests the will, this can push the case past the year mark.
You can find more details on the length of probate in regards to creditors in Section 700.3801 of Michigan’s Legislature. According to Michigan law,
“Unless notice has already been given, upon appointment a personal representative shall publish, and a special personal representative may publish a notice as provided by supreme court rule notifying estate creditors to present their claims within 4 months after the date of the notice’s publication or be forever barred…” (Michigan Legislature, 1998, Section 700.3801 Notice of creditors.).”
How Much Does Probate Cost?
The total costs of probate involve the probate court costs, appraisal fees, and executor fees. You will also have to consider attorney fees. However, hiring an attorney can help make the process faster and easier.
Can Probate Be Avoided?
In the case that the estate is valued at less than $15,000, it’s possible to avoid probate and go through a simplified process. In this process, probate courts are involved either not at all or very little.
In addition to the simplified process exception for estates valued at less than $15,000, there are other property exceptions. These include:
- Insurance policies
- Retirement accounts
- Jointly owned property
- Trusts not established by a will
These exceptions will not have to go through probate court.
Do I Need An Attorney?
While Michigan technically doesn’t require an attorney for all probate matters, it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution. Even for straightforward cases when someone passed away with a solid estate plan, a probate lawyer can help ensure correct procedures are followed and avoid potential issues. These legal matters are important and should be treated as such.
On the other hand, certain probate cases absolutely require the assistance of an attorney. This includes cases involving: