Small Estate (Petition and Order for Assignment)

Grand Traverse County Probate Court

Small Estate Assignment

This page is meant to provide you with general information in regards to small estates. Please note: Our staff is prohibited by law from giving you legal advice. Please consult an attorney if you require assistance.

Michigan law 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, and has increased to $22,000 as of January 1st, 2016.  Please note that in this process, the terms of the decedent’s will are not carried out.  (However, if the decedent had a will, by law, it must be filed with the Probate Court)

A description and gross value must be given of all property within the decedent's estate.  Liens or debts are not subtracted from the total gross value of the estate. 


  • Filing fee:  $25
  • Inventory fee:  Mandated inventory fee based on value of the estate (see Inventory fee calculator online)
  • Certified court order:  $12, if order is one page front and back ($.50 for each additional page attached to the order)
  • 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.

Required forms/filings:

  • ​Petition and Order for Assignment, PC 556 (PDF)  (The decedent must have been a Grand Traverse County resident. If the decedent was not a Grand Traverse County resident, he/she must have left property in our county.)
  • Testimony to Identify Heirs, PC 565 (PDF). This will help you to determine who the heirs are.
  • A copy of the death certificate that has been signed by the county clerk
  • A copy of the funeral and burial bills/receipts from the funeral home (if paid, they must show who paid, and the amount paid)

Assignment of assets:

Upon a showing of evidence, satisfactory to the court, of payment of the expenses for the decedent's funeral and burial, the court may order that the property be turned over to the surviving spouse, or, if there is not a spouse, to the heirs.  

Upon a showing of evidence, satisfactory to the court, that the decedent's funeral or burial expenses are unpaid or were paid by a person other than the estate, the court shall order that the property be first used to pay the unpaid funeral and burial expenses, or to reimburse the person that paid those expenses, and may order that the balance be turned over to the surviving spouse, or if there is no spouse, to the decedent's heirs.

*Table for Maximum Estate Value in Years Prior to 2014

Year of Death
Value of state
2000 $15,000
2001 $16,000
2002 $17,000
2003 $17,000
2004 $17,000
2005 $18,000
2006 $18,000
2007 $19,000
2008 $19,000
2009 $20,000
2010 $20,000
2011 $20,000
2012 $21,000
2013 $21,000
2014 $22,000
2015 $22,000
2016 $22,000