The probate court is a fascinating place to work.  Each case filed in the probate court tells a unique story of that person’s life, assets, debts, and family relations. As the leading probate administration firm in Michigan, The Probate Pro feels tremendous respect for the families that it has the privilege to represent.

It is important to note that probate proceedings are not private.  (This should not be confused with Trust proceedings which are private matters).  The probate court is a public place in which probate files can be viewed without any limitation.

The probate court is the exclusive place in which matters relating to the handling of a deceased person’s estate are resolved.  It does not matter whether the person had a Will or not.  All probate administrations are handled at the probate court.   

In Michigan, the county probate court has jurisdiction over all probate estates in which the person was (1) domiciled in that county or (2) was domiciled out of the state of Michigan yet died owning assets within that county.

probate courtHere are some common examples to clarify the jurisdiction statute:

  • The Wayne County Probate Court would be the proper county to file a probate estate for a person that resided in Wayne County at the time of death.
  • The Oakland County Probate Court would be the proper county to file a probate estate for a person that resided in Oklahoma but owned real estate in Oakland County.
  • The Macomb County Probate Court would NOT be the proper county to file a probate estate for a person that lived in California and died of a heart attack while visiting family in Macomb County.
  • The Genesee County Probate Court would be the proper county to file a probate estate for a person to pursue a wrongful death cause of action that lived in Florida but was killed in a car accident while driving in Genesee County.

Here are some examples of the types of files that the Michigan statute grants the probate court exclusive jurisdiction:

  • Estate administration, settlement, and distribution. 
  • Declaration of rights involving estates, devisees, heirs, and fiduciaries.
  • Construction of a will.
  • Determination of heirs.
  • Settlement of a Trust.
  • Appoint or remove a trustee.
  • Review the fees of a trustee.
  • Require, hear, and settle accounts.
  • Ascertain beneficiaries
  • Determine a question that arises in the administration or distribution of a Trust.

Also, the probate court has concurrent jurisdiction over certain matters.  This means that the matter could be filed in the probate court or another court. Essentially in those situations, you can pick which court you would like to file your matter.

The Probate Pro does not expect that people will understand all of the various nuances of the probate court statutes.  Unsure which probate court to file in? The Probate Pro is happy to assist.