There is a Probate Court in each Michigan county with the exception of ten counties which have consolidated to form five probate court districts. Each district has one judge, and each of the remaining counties has one or more judges depending on population and caseload within the county. The Probate Court has jurisdiction in the areas of estates and trusts, guardianships, and conservatorships and mental commitment proceedings. Probate judges are elected on a nonpartisan ballot for six year terms, subject to the same requirements as other judges.
A major function of the court is the administration of deceased estates. It is the court's task to interpret wills in the event of uncertainty or conflict over the will's meaning. The court may also determine rights to an estate where the person has died "intestate" (without a will). This function of the court demonstrates one of the important purposes of courts in our society -- they make a formal record of the legal status of property.
Form Requirements for Estate Proceedings
- Instructions for Completing a Petition and Order for Assignment
- Supervised Probate
- Unsupervised Probate - Formal
- Unsupervised Probate - Informal
- Affidavit of Decedent's Successor for Delivery of Certain Assets Owned by Decedent
- Petition and Order to Open Safe Deposit Box to Locate Will/Burial Deed
- Safe-Deposit Box Certificate and Receipt
- Proof of Service
The Probate Court is responsible for appointing guardians and conservators for incapacitated adults and minors who cannot make responsible decisions about themselves or their property. In these cases the judge must decide whether the person in question has a mental, physical or legal limitation which requires the judge to appoint a guardian to make decisions concerning the person's health and personal life or appoint a conservator to make responsible decisions concerning management of property and money. A Conservator is responsible for filing detailed/accurate annual accounts with the Court.
The Probate Court is also responsible for reviewing guardianships at the end of one year and every three years thereafter for adults. For minors the court is responsible for reviewing the guardianship yearly until the minor reaches age six.
Forms needed for filing Guardianship/Conservatorship/Protective Orders
- Guardianship of a Developmentally Disabled Individual
- Guardianship of Adult
- Conservatorship and/or Protective Order of Adult
- Guardianship of Minor
- Limited Guardianship of Minor
- Conservatorship and/or Protective Order of Minor
Forms needed for terminating or modifying Conservatorship or Guardianship
- Filing a Petition to Terminate/Modify Conservatorship
- Filing a Petition to Terminate/Modify Guardianship of Incapacitated Individual or Minor
- Filing a Petition to Terminate/Modify Guardian of Developmentally Disabled Individual
Annual Guardianship Reports
- Report on Condition of Minor
- Report of Guardian on Condition of Legally Incapacitated Individual
- Report of Guardian on Condition of Individual with Developmental Disability
Another major function of the Probate Court concerns proceedings under the Mental Health Code. These proceedings pertain to commitment for hospital care of persons alleged to have a mental illness and guardianship proceedings for the developmentally disabled.
- Mental Health Code
- Request for Mental Evaluation/Transport
- Fee Waiver for Attorney Fees on Mental Health Billings
The Probate Court handles other matters such as allowing persons to deposit their will in a designated vault ($25 each), delayed registration of foreign births, opening decedent safe deposit boxes, secret marriages, appointing members to the state boundary commission, and tax commission.
- Change of Address Form
- Delayed Registration of Foreign Birth
- Supplemental Information Sheets, Guardianship
- Supplemental Information Sheets, Protective Order
- Peace of Mind Booklet
Schedule of fees: The Court accepts personal checks, money orders, cash and credit cards (Visa & MasterCard).
Request Waiver of Fees/Cost
Forms for Filing
Forms can be found for all courts using the State of Michigan Courts website. Forms are categorized by general case types.
Chief Probate Judge
West Olive, MI 49460
FAX: (616) 738-4624
8:00am - 5:00pm
Assistance available in Court Room C
StaffKevin J. Bowling
Chief Deputy Probate Register
Deputy Probate Register