Petition And Order Assignment

Grand Traverse County Probate Court

Small Estate Assignment

This page is meant to provide you with general information in regards to small estates. Please note: Our staff is prohibited by law from giving you legal advice. Please consult an attorney if you require assistance.

Michigan law (MCL 700.3982) allows small estates to be probated using an expedited process if the balance of the gross estate after payment of the decedent's funeral and burial expenses is $15,000 or less.  This amount is adjusted annually for inflation beginning on January 1st, 2000, and has increased to $22,000 as of January 1st, 2016.  (See the table of values listed at the bottom of this page)  Liens or debts are not subtracted in calculating the value of the estate.  Liens/mortgages against a piece of real property must be listed, however, for purposes of calculating the inventory fee.

In this process, the terms of the decedent’s will are not carried out, and no Personal Representative is appointed.  (However, if the decedent had a will, by law, it must be filed with the Probate Court)

Fees:

 
  • Filing fee:  $25
  • Inventory fee:  Mandated inventory fee based on value of the estate (see Inventory fee calculator online)
  • Certified court order:  $12, if order is one page front and back ($.50 for each additional page attached to the order)
  • We accept cash, check, or money order.  Checks or money orders should be made payable to the Grand Traverse County Probate Court.  We do not accept credit or debit cards.

Required forms/filings:

  • ​Petition and Order for Assignment, PC 556 (PDF)  
  • Testimony to Identify Heirs, PC 565 (PDF). This will help you to determine who the heirs are.
  • A copy of the death certificate that has been signed by the county clerk.  The death certificate must show that the decedent was a resident of Grand Traverse County.  The exception is if the decedent lived outside of Michigan but had property in Grand Traverse County; this is acceptable.
  • A copy of the funeral and burial bills/receipts from the funeral home, whether the bill is paid or unpaid.  The bill must show who paid and the amount they paid.  A funeral bill that simply says "Paid" or "0 balance owed" is not sufficient.  If the bill has not been paid, the bill must reflect the balance that is owed.

Completing the forms:

Petition and Order for Assignment:
  • A description and gross value must be given of all property solely held by the decedent as of the date of death.
  • For real property, determine the value by doubling the State Equalized Value (SEV) located on the tax bill.  List the lien/mortgage amount, if there is one.
  • For bank accounts, include the bank name, location, and account number.
  • For stocks and bonds, list the corporation and number of shares.
  • "Blue book" values for vehicles are acceptable.
  • If anyone paid any part of the funeral bill, that person must be listed in #4, along with the amount they paid.
Michigan law is very specific on how a small estate may be assigned.
  • The court will order that the property be used to pay any funeral and burial expenses first.  (or to reimburse the person who paid those expenses)
  • The court will order that the remaining property be assigned to the decedent's spouse or to the decedent's heirs, if there is no spouse.

PETITION AND ORDER FOR ASSIGNMENT

A completed Petition and Order for Assignment (PC556) must typed or printed legibly in ink. An heir or an individual who paid for the funeral bill may petition the court.

  1. An itemized funeral bill marked "Paid" which shows the amount paid and who paid it or funeral bill plus receipt from funeral home showing amount of payment and person paying. If the funeral bill is not paid, you must have a copy of the bill showing the amount due.

  2. List all information about the asset that is available. For bank accounts, show the name of the bank, the account number(s), and the balance at the date of death. For stocks and bonds, show the name of the corporation, number of shares, price per share, and total value at the date of death. For autos, trucks, boats, etc., include a description and the vehicle number. For real estate, list the complete legal description, not the street address.
    1. The total value of the assets on the original and any amended petitions, after payment of funeral and burial expenses. The estate value, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed the annual Cost-of Living Adjustments. Refer to the following link for the annual adjusted amount.

      http://www.michigan.gov/documents/nonecolimit101_3658_7.pdf

      Date of DeathAmount
      If the decedent passed away before January 1, 2001$15,000.00
      If the decedent passed away in 2001$16,000.00
      If the decent passed away in 2002, 2003 or 2004$17,000.00
      If the decedent passed away in 2005 or 2006$18,000.00
      If the decedent passed away in 2007 or 2008$19,000.00
      If the decedent passed away in 2009, 2010 or 2011$20,000.00
      If the decedent passed away in 2012 or 2013$21,000.00
      If the decedent passed away in 2014, 2015 or 2016$22,000.00


  3. The filing fee is $25.00 plus a Gross Estate Fee based upon the Inventory Value of the assets before funeral expenses. Examples of the Gross Estate Fee: $25.00 for $1,000.00 in assets and $68.75 for $10,000.00 in assets. You may call the Court (269-383-8666) for the exact gross estate fee for the total amount of the estate assets listed on your petition. There is also a $12.00 fee for each certified copy of the Order requested.

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