Frequently Asked Questions: Decedent’s Estate

In what county would I file a decedent's estate?

A petitioner would file a decedent's estate in the county in which the decedent was domiciled (generally, meaning where the decedent lived) at the time of death. If the decedent was domiciled outside of Michigan, but had property in Michigan, the petitioner may file an estate in the county where decedents property was located at the time of death.


My relative died, what do I need to do?

First you need to determine if the relative had any assets held solely in his/her name. If so, probate proceedings will be necessary. The value of any assets will determine the manner in which you will proceed.


I am named the executor in the Will. Why do I need to open a deceased estate?

The current term for "executor" is personal representative. A Will only nominates a personal representative.  The personal representative does not have the power to act on behalf of the estate until the probate court grants power. Therefore, proceedings must be commenced in probate court. Also, upon death, whoever has the original Will must deposit it with the court.


Do I have to open a deceased estate?

Deceased estate administration is required when the decedent left assets titled solely in his/her name.


What must be probated?

Any assets that are held solely in the decedent's name.


How do I open a safe deposit box?

If the box was in the decedent's name only, you must request permission from the probate court by filling out form PC 551. The safe deposit box must be located in Charlevoix County and you must know the box number and have the key. This will enable you to view the contents to determine if there is a Will or Burial Deed. To remove the contents, you will need to consult a representative of the financial institution where the box is located.


Why do I have to publish for creditors?

Creditors have the right to file a claim against the estate for a limited period of time (within four months of publication). A personal representative must notify all known creditors of the death and publish for any unknown creditors.