Probating an Estate

When a family member dies, you may need to go through the probate process before distributing the deceased person's property. This will be true, for example, if there's a home solely in the deceased's name, or a bank account with no named beneficiary. Such property is part of the deceased's "estate." The probate process assures that the estate property is legally transferred according to the deceased person's will (if there is one) or the Michigan statute.

  • Starting an Estate. Typically, an estate begins with a family member filing an Application for Informal Probate with the Probate Court. The will - if any - is also filed.
  • Appointment of a Personal Representative. The Probate Court appoints a Personal Representative (PR) to administer the estate. If there's a will, this is normally the person who the deceased has named to serve as the PR.
  • The Inventory and Beyond. The PR prepares an inventory of the estate property, advises known creditors to file claims, and publishes a notice inviting unknown creditors to file any claims they may have.
  • Closing the Estate. When all valid claims have been paid, the PR prepares an accounting and transfers the remaining assets to those entitled to them.

The attorneys at the Ann Arbor firm of Hamilton, London, & Davis can assist in starting an estate, and then advise the personal representative at all stages of the probate process.