Decedent Estates - Grand Traverse County Probate Court

Types of Estates

The following are the different types of estates:

Informal probate 

This involves filing the Application for Informal Probate and/or Appointment of Personal Representative.  The application for informal probate is used to request that the Probate Register appoint the Personal Representative, and admit the will, if applicable.

Forms:

  1. Please note that the original will and codicil are required by law to be filed.  However, if you do not have the originals, you must proceed by using the Petition for Probate instead of the Application for Informal Probate.

Other forms which may be needed:

Fees:  

  • Cash, checks, or money orders are accepted.  Checks and money orders should be payable to Grand Traverse County Probate Court.  Credit cards are not accepted at this time.  Please do not send cash through the mail.
  • Filing fee:  $175
  • Certified Letters of Authority:  $12 for each certified copy
  • There will also be an inventory fee due.  The amount of the fee due is based on the value of the estate, and it is due one year after the appointment of the personal representative, or at the time you file to close the estate, whichever occurs first.

Publication fee:  

  • Around $85 (call newspaper to verify) 
  • Traverse City Record Eagle OR Northern Express can be used for publication

Court forms are available on the Michigan Courts website:

www.courts.michigan.gov/SCAO-forms/Estates-Trusts/

 

Please visit the Michigan Legal Help website for assistance:

michiganlegalhelp.org

 

For further information about the duties of a Personal Representative, please visit our website at:

www.gtcountymi.gov/474/Probate-Court

 

Please visit the Michigan Legal Help website for assistance:

michiganlegalhelp.org

 

THIS PACKET IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE USED AS LEGAL ADVICE, NOR CAN COURT STAFF ADVISE YOU.  IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROBATE PROCESS, OR HAVE A COMPLICATED CASE, YOU SHOULD TALK TO AN ATTORNEY.



Formal Probate

This involves filing the Petition for Probate and/or Appointment of Personal Representative.  The petition for probate is used to request that the Judge appoint the Personal Representative, and admit the will, if applicable.

Forms:

  1. Please note that the original will and codicil are required by law to be filed.

 

Other forms which may be needed:

 

Fees:  

  • Cash, checks, or money orders are accepted.  Checks and money orders should be payable to Grand Traverse County Probate Court.  Credit cards are not accepted at this time.  Please do not send cash through the mail.
  • Filing fee:  $175
  • Certified Letters of Authority:  $12 for each certified copy
  • There will also be an inventory fee due.  The amount of the fee due is based on the value of the estate, and it is due one year after the appointment of the personal representative, or at the time you file to close the estate, whichever occurs first.

 

Publication fee:  

  • Around $85 (call newspaper to verify) 
  • Traverse City Record Eagle OR Northern Express can be used for publication

 

Court forms are available on the Michigan Courts website:

www.courts.michigan.gov/SCAO-forms/Estates-Trusts/

 

For further information about the duties of a Personal Representative, please visit our website at:

www.gtcountymi.gov/474/Probate-Court

 

Please visit the Michigan Legal Help website for assistance:

michiganlegalhelp.org

 

THIS PACKET IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE USED AS LEGAL ADVICE, NOR CAN COURT STAFF ADVISE YOU.  IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROBATE PROCESS, OR HAVE A COMPLICATED CASE, YOU SHOULD TALK TO AN ATTORNEY.

 

Small Estates

Michigan law (MCL 700.3982) allows small estates to be probated using an expedited process if the balance of the gross estate after payment of the decedent’s funeral and burial expenses is $15,000 or less.  This amount is adjusted annually for inflation beginning on January 1st, 2000.  (For dates of death in prior years, see the table of values listed at the end of this instruction sheet) Liens or debts are not subtracted in calculating the value of the estate.  Liens/mortgages against a piece of real property must be listed, however, for purposes of calculating the inventory fee.

 

In this process, the funeral home will be assigned the amount of the bill if the funeral bill has not been paid, with the remaining assets divided equally among the heirs.  The terms of the decedent’s will are not carried out, and no Personal Representative is appointed.  (However, if the decedent had a will, by law, it must be filed with the Probate Court in the county of residence of the decedent.)  

 

Fees:

  • Filing fee:  $25
  • Inventory fee:  Mandated inventory fee based on value of the estate (please call us to calculate)
  • Certified court order:  $11.  *We accept cash, check, or money order.  Checks or money orders should be made payable to the Grand Traverse County Probate Court.  We do not accept credit or debit cards.

 

Documents needed:

  • Petition and Order for Assignment (PC 556)
  • Protected Personal Identifying Information (MC 97)
  • Testimony to Identify Heirs (PC 565)
    • This will help you determine who the heirs are.
  • A copy of the death certificate that has been signed by the county clerk.
    • The death certificate must show that the decedent was a resident of Grand Traverse County.         The exception is if the decedent lived outside of Michigan but had property in Grand Traverse County; this is acceptable.
  • A copy of the funeral and burial bills/receipts from the funeral home, whether the bill is paid or unpaid.
    • The bill must show who paid and the amount they paid.
    • A funeral bill that simply says “Paid” or “$0 balance owed” is not sufficient.
    • If the bill has not been paid, the bill must reflect the balance that is owed.

 

Completing the Petition for Assignment:

  • A description and gross value must be given of all property solely held by the decedent as of the date of death.
  • For real property, determine the value by doubling the State Equalized Value (SEV) located on the tax bill.  List the lien/mortgage amount, if there is one.  
  • For bank accounts, include the bank name, location, and account number.
  • For stocks and bonds, list the corporation and number of shares.
  • “Blue book” values for vehicles are acceptable.
  • If anyone paid any part of the funeral bill, that person must be listed in #4, along with the amount they paid. 

Small estate threshold values:

Year of Death

Value of Estate

2000

$15,000

2001

$16,000

2002 – 2004

$17,000

2005 – 2006 

$18,000

2007 – 2008

$19,000

2009 – 2011

$20,000

2012 – 2013

$21,000

2014 – 2017

$22,000

2018

$23,000

2019

$23,000

2020-2021

$24,000

2022

$25,000

2023

$27,000

2024

$28,000