Michigan Probate: The Basics

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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When a person dies in Michigan, the collection and distribution of their assets and property (collectively termed their “estate”) is governed by Michigan probate law. The probate process can seem daunting and complicated, but the good news is that for many estates, the probate process can be avoided. Here’s how to approach Michigan probate law on your own.

How to Bypass Michigan Probate

There are two types of Michigan property that can bypass the Michigan probate courts altogether: joint trusts and property owned in joint tenancy by more than one person. This means that joint homes, cars, or bank accounts can bypass probate, as well as living trusts that clearly designate a beneficiary. Due to the tax ramifications of living trusts, you should consider consult an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney before opting for a trust when planning your estate.

Additional Michigan Probate Resources

Michigan Probate Courts

Michigan Probate Law (search “probate” in MCL Key Word Search)

Alger County
Alpena County
Bay County
Branch County
Calhoun County
Charlevoiz County
Clinton County
Eaton County
Genessee County
Grand Traverse County
Ingham County
Ionia County
Isabella County
Jackson County
Kalamazoo County
Kent County
Lapeer County
Leelanau County
Livingston County
Macomb County
Marquette County
Midland County
Monroe County
Oakland County
Oscoda County
Ottawa County
Roscommon County
St.Clair County
St. Joseph’s County
Washtenaw County
Wayne County

Also, see our article on Michigan Probate Procedure

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