Small Estates


Before beginning a traditional probate administration, whether unsupervised or supervised, with an informal or formal proceeding, consider the applicability of five “small estate” shortcut procedures. Any  of the procedures discussed below may be employed in substantial estates where most of the decedent’s property passes outside of probate, through, for example, a revocable living trust, insurance, or joint property. It may even be possible to consider using more than just one of these small estate procedures in cases where the chief goal is to retitle assets without the expense and delay of traditional probate proceedings.

I can help you prepare and answer small estate questions and/or assist you with drafting the applicable forms listed below depending upon your individual circumstances.  

  1. The paycheck-only procedure of MCL 408.480, when the only assets in the estate are wages or fringe benefits.

  2. The automobile-only procedure of MCL 257.236, when the only assets in the estate are vehicles whose total value does not exceed $60,000.

  3. The $500 and wearing apparel procedure of MCL 700.3981, when the only assets are cash and clothing held by a hospital, nursing home, morgue, or law enforcement agency.

  4. The $15,000 small estate court procedure of MCL 700.3982, when the estate assets (real and personal property) are valued at $15,000 or less (as adjusted for inflation).

  5. The $15,000 small estate affidavit procedure of MCL 700.3983, when the estate consists entirely of personal property valued at $15,000 or less (as adjusted for inflation).

  6. The total allowances procedure of MCL 700.3987, when the value of the estate does not exceed the applicable homestead allowance, exempt tangible property allowance, family allowance, administration costs and expenses, reasonable funeral expenses, and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the decedent’s last illness.

If you'd like more information about small estates, please call me at (586) 254-9200 or (248) 409-0256.

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