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Probate Court

Honorable
Melanie D. Stanton
280 Washington St Ste 223
Traverse City, MI 49684
Phone: (231) 922-6862
Fax #: (231) 922-4458
Probate@grandtraverse.org
Hours: M-F, 8:00 - 5:00
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Small Estate (Petition and Order for Assignment)

PETITION AND ORDER FOR ASSIGNMENT

A completed Petition and Order for Assignment, form PC556, must be typed or printed legibly in ink. Any interested person as defined by law may petition the court.

Include a copy of the death certificate and an itemized bill for funeral and burial expenses marked "paid" which shows the amount paid and who paid it, or a funeral bill plus a receipt from the funeral home showing the amount of payment and person paying. If the funeral bill is not paid, you must have a copy of the bill showing the amount due.  If the bill was prepaid by a policy of some kind, proof of who purchased the policy must be submitted to the Court. 

List all information about the asset that is available. For bank accounts, show the name of the bank, the account number(s), and the balance at the date of death. For stocks and bonds, show the name of the corporation, number of shares, price per share, and total value at the date of death. For autos, trucks, boats, etc., include a description and the vehicle number. In some cases, titled vehicles can be taken care of at the Secretary of State's office through an Affidavit of Heirship.  Note that this may only be done if the titled vehicle is the only asset left solely in the decedent's name.  Please contact your local Secretary of State's office for more information on this process.  For real estate, list the complete legal description, not the street address.

The total value of the assets on the original and any amended petitions, after payment of funeral and burial expenses, may not exceed:

Year of Death

Value of Assets

2014

$22,000

2012 - 2013

$21,000

2009 - 2011  

$20,000

2007 - 2008

$19,000

2005 - 2006

$18,000

2002 - 2004

$17,000

2001

$16,000

Prior to 2001

$15,000


The filing fee is $25.00 plus a Gross Estate Fee based upon the Inventory Value of the assets before funeral expenses. You may call the Court for the exact gross estate fee for the total amount of the estate assets listed on your petition or link to Inventory Fee Calculator (Kalamazoo County) to calculate the fee.

Complete a Testimony to Identify Heirs and Devisee Heirs, form PC565.  This will help you to determine who the heirs are.  This must be completed.
  • If there is a surviving spouse, then that spouse is the heir, or
  • If the decedent did not leave a surviving spouse then the decedent's children are heirs, or
  • If the decedent did not leave a surviving spouse or children, then the children of the decedent's children are heirs, or
  • If the decedent did not leave a surviving spouse, any children or other descendants then the decedent's parents are heirs, or
  • If the decedent did not leave a surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents, then the decedent's brothers and sisters are heirs, or
  • If the decedent did not leave a surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parents or siblings, then the children of the decedent's siblings are heirs.

Since small estate assignment is an expedited procedure, Michigan Statute is very strict on how a decedent's estate may be assigned.

  • First, the estate assets will be applied to pay any unpaid funeral or burial expenses to the funeral home.  If the estate is less than or equal to the amount of the unpaid funeral and burial expenses, then all of the estate goes to the funeral home.
  • Second, if there are assets left over after full payment to the funeral home, then any individuals or entities (including DHS) who paid the funeral expenses need to be repaid out of the estate.
  • Third,
    • if the funeral home has been paid,
    • or the person(s) who had paid for the funeral expenses has been paid back,
    • or if the funeral expenses have been paid by insurance or have been prepaid by the decedent, then remaining assets will be assigned to the surviving spouse or to the heirs if there is no surviving spouse.

If an individual is an heir to the estate assets and does not wish to receive their share, the individual may disclaim their interest and their share will be redistributed to the other heirs. 
 
The small estate assignment process may not be appropriate in cases where a bulk of the estate is made up of an automobile, household belongings, or real property and there are multiple individuals entitled to the property.
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