Probate Court

Decedent Estates/Wills – Definitions

Petition and Order for Assignment

When the estate consists entirely of assets with a gross value of $19,000 (adjusted annually) or less, after payment of decedent's funeral and burial expenses, a simple procedure is available.  File a Petition and Order for Assignment (PC556) with a copy of the receipt for funeral expenses and a copy of the death certificate, as well as any original will.  The will is not admitted to probate.  Assets are first assigned to reimburse the person who paid funeral expenses (or directly to the funeral home, if unpaid), with any excess to the heirs.

Filing fee: $25.00; inventory fee-based on value of assets; certified copy of order: $13.00.

Informal Estates

Next to using the Small Estate procedures, probating  a decedent's estate using informal proceedings is the easiest way to probate an estate.  Some features of an informal probate are that no court hearings are necessary, a personal representative (sometimes referred to as an executor) is appointed by the court and given the authority to probate the estate, and most of the activities involved in probating the estate are done without court involvement.

Formal Estates

Unsupervised administration of an estate may be conducted in informal or formal proceedings.  While very similar to informal proceedings, probating a decedent's estate using formal proceedings provides the security of a court order deciding issues within the estate.

Supervised Estates

Supervised administration of an estate is available in some limited circumstances and provides for close oversight by the court over the probate process.  Only a very small percentage of decedent's estates go through supervised proceedings. 

Disposition of Small Estates

Michigan law provides a streamlined process for distributing the assets in a decedent's estate if the balance of the estate after payment of the funeral and burial expenses is $15,000.00 or less (adjusted for the cost-of-living).  The process is quick, inexpensive, and no court hearings are necessary.