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What is Michigan's small estate threshold?

After the death of a loved one or close associate, it can be far too painful to have to focus on technicalities such as will execution, including dealing with Michigan probate court and the practical realities of estate division. When you are already grieving and stretched thin, it is hard to think of dealing with such legal intricacies. Are there ways around probate court, and if so, what is the threshold for skipping the itemization and valuation of the deceased's estate?

Michigan has what is known as a "small estate" threshold. This threshold is for assets left behind by the deceased that reach a certain value or less, meaning that the estate is too small to require probate court to determine appropriate division and execution of a will, if any. Per Michigan legislature, if the decedent's remaining estate and property total $15,000 or less either before or after paying for funerals, debts and other arrangements, then the property and assets remaining are by default handed over to the spouse. If there is no spouse, the estate is by default handed over to any heirs.

This means that rather than going through the lengthy process of probate court to determine value and allocation of all assets. Instead you need only take the steps necessary to briefly verify the total value of the estate, upon which the court generally summarily agrees on standard disposition of the estate. For smaller estates, this can save you a great deal of time and grief.

This blog post is intended for educational purposes only, and should not be used as actionable legal counsel.

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