In most cases, when a person in Michigan dies, their estate will go through the probate process. What exactly this process looks like can vary considerably from estate to estate. Below are some examples of the ways the probate process can vary here in Michigan.
One difference will be how complex and involved the process is. Some estates go through formal administration, which tends to involve more steps and have a higher level of complexity. Other estates, however, are eligible to instead go through processes that are simplified and aimed at expediting the probate process, such as summary administration. One thing which tends to play a role in which end of this spectrum a particular estate ends up on is the size of the estate. Larger estates more often end up in formal administration, while smaller estates may qualify for informal or even summary administration.
Another area of variation when it comes to the probate process is how involved the court is in the process. When the probate administration of the estate is supervised, the court generally will be very involved in the probate process. The court's role is much more minimal when the probate administration of the estate is unsupervised. Whether the probate administration of an estate will be unsupervised or supervised can be influenced by many things, such as whether the deceased expressed any preference regarding administration type in a will.
Another way the probate process can vary is in how specifically the assets in the estate that go through the probate process (it is important to note that not all assets are subject to the probate process) will be distributed. Generally, if the deceased had a will, the will's terms will dictate the distribution of these assets. If, however, the deceased had no will, the distribution of these assets will typically be dictated by state probate law.
Given the great degree of variation regarding the probate process in Michigan, it is understandable that a person who has been named as an administrator of an individual's estate may have many questions and concerns regarding the probate process. Experienced probate attorneys can help answer probate questions and can help estate administrators in trying to make the probate process go as smoothly and hitch-free as possible.
Source: FindLaw, "Michigan Probate Laws," Accessed Dec. 1, 2014