Informal proceeding are commenced by filing an application directed to the register. The application may be for informal probate (informal admission of a will) or appointment of a personal representative or both. Informal proceedings are defined in EPIC to mean proceedings for probate of a will or appointment of a personal representative conducted by the probate register without notice to interested persons. This material will deal only with informal proceedings. Formal proceedings or a request for supervised administration will be covered in subsequent notes.
Only an "interested person" may file an application for informal probate or appointment or both. Interested person is defined very broadly by MCL 700.1105(a):
"interested person" includes, but is not limited to, an heir, devisee, child, spouse, creditor, and beneficiary and any other person that has a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent, ward, or protected individual; a person that has priority for appointment as personal representative; and a fiduciary representing an interested person.
There are two important terms that should probably be briefly defined now. Devisee is a person designated to receive property in a will. Heir is a person who is entitled under the statute of intestate succession to a decedent's property.
The forms and documents which must be filed with or presented to the register to commence an informal proceeding are:
Persons who are not disqualified have priority for appointment in the following order pursuant to MCL 700.3203(1):
Under MCL 700.3310 an applicant seeking appointment in an informal proceeding must give notice to each person having a prior or equal right to appointment who has not waived the right. Such a waiver may be accomplished by filing a Waiver and Consent (PC 561). The applicant must also serve a copy of the application on those persons pursuant to MCR 5.709(C). The notice and service of the application must be made at least 14 days by mail or publication or 7 days by personal service prior to appointment. A proof of service must also be filed with the court pursuant to MCR 5.709(C)(2).
In an informal proceeding for original probate of a will, MCL 700.3303(1) requires that the register shall determine whether all of the following are true:
In informal appointment proceedings, MCL 700.3308(1) requires that the register shall determine whether all of the following are true:
If all papers are in order and the register is able to make the required findings, the register will sign the Register's Statement and immediately issue Letters of Authority. If the register denies the application, the register shall state the reason for the denial. The denial is not an adjudication. There is no appeal from this denial. Essentially, a denial will require that you begin probate by formal proceedings.
Kent County Courthouse
180 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 2500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm
Filings are accepted until 4:30pm
Judge David M. Murkowski
Chief Judge Probate Court
Susan B. Flakne, Register