Formal and informal probate – Suzanne R. Fanning PLLC (2024)

Informal probate is the most cost effective, and easiest, way to administer a probate estate. Informal probate allows the estate to be probated through an administrative process without any court involvement and no court hearings. The estate is opened by an application and can be opened the day that the application is filed, or within a few days. Informal probate is appropriate when there is an original will and there is no contest over the validity of the will. If the person died without a will, you can still proceed with informal probate if there is no dispute regarding the identity of the heirs.

Formal probate means that the estate must be opened by filing a petition for a hearing before the probate court and can mean continued involvement of the court. Once a petition has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled by the court anywhere from two weeks to a month after the paperwork is filed. Formal probate is necessary if the decedent left a will but the original will cannot be located. Formal probate is also necessary if there is a dispute over the validity of the will or where there are competing wills. When a decedent did not leave a will but there is a dispute over the identity of the heirs, for example, a child born outside of a marriage, formal probate is required to settle the identity of the heirs.

Formal and informal probate – Suzanne R. Fanning PLLC (2024)

FAQs

What is the difference between informal and formal probate? ›

Here in Arizona, there are two different types of probate: informal and formal probate. The main difference between the two is how they start. Informal probate doesn't require a hearing in front of a judicial officer and formal probate does require one.

What is the difference between formal and informal probate in Michigan? ›

Informal proceedings are less complicated and generally take less time to complete. The results, however, can always be challenged in a formal proceeding. Thus, you do not have the finality gained by a court order obtained through formal proceedings. Formal proceedings require a court hearing.

What assets are exempt from probate in Michigan? ›

Assets that pass directly to beneficiaries without having to go through probate include: Any property jointly owned by the decedent and a survivor. Any property held in a trust. Life insurance policies with named beneficiaries.

What is the difference between formal and informal probate in Maine? ›

If the person died without a will, you can still proceed with informal probate if there is no dispute regarding the identity of the heirs. Formal probate means that the estate must be opened by filing a petition for a hearing before the probate court and can mean continued involvement of the court.

What should be included in an informal will? ›

Essential Information
  • Write a title. ...
  • Name the executor of your will. ...
  • Name a guardian for any minors. ...
  • Organize and inventory assets. ...
  • Name the beneficiaries. ...
  • Write your residuary clause. ...
  • Sign your will with witnesses. ...
  • Store your will someplace safe and update it when necessary.
Oct 31, 2022

What is an informal settlement of an estate? ›

The informal settlement shall be made, under oath, by the fiduciary and shall state that the estate was solvent; that all legal claims and debts have been paid, or if not paid, the manner in which the claims and debts have been provided for; that, for final settlement, the requirements of the inheritance, estate or ...

Can you empty a house before probate Michigan? ›

One common question that arises is whether you can empty a house before probate is completed. The short answer is often no, as probate laws typically require that the estate's assets remain intact until the process is finalized.

Do all wills go through probate in Michigan? ›

Although most property is required to go through probate, there are certain cases where probate isn't necessary. Examples of assets that don't need to go through this process include: Assets that are held within a trust (i.e Revocable Living Trust)

How long do you have to file probate after death in Michigan? ›

Probate is the legal process of validating a will so a decedent's estate can be distributed. If you are the executor of someone's estate, you might wonder how soon you need to file probate after that individual's death. Michigan differs from other states in that there isn't a deadline to file a probate case.

Which of the following assets do not go through probate? ›

Protect your assets - update your estate plan today

Luckily, there are solutions. First and foremost, there are a number of asset types that typically do not pass through probate. This includes life insurance policies, bank accounts, and investment or retirement accounts that require you to name a beneficiary.

Does a car go through probate in Michigan? ›

Motor Vehicles. If a decedent dies with no probate assets (i.e., owns nothing in their name alone) except for one or more motor vehicles whose total value is not more than $60,000, title to the vehicles can be transferred by the Secretary of State without opening an estate in the Probate Court.

How to avoid probate in Michigan? ›

In Michigan, you can make a living trust to avoid probate for virtually any asset you own—real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, and so on. You need to create a trust document (it's similar to a will), naming someone to take over as trustee after your death (called a successor trustee).

What is the difference between informal and formal probate in Michigan? ›

Probate proceedings can be informal or formal. Formal proceedings have more steps than informal proceedings. If a dispute over the will or appointing a personal representative is likely, formal proceedings give more oversight and finality than informal ones.

What is an informal probate? ›

Informal probate is a type of probate offered in states that follow the Uniform Probate Code (UPC). Only about 18 states have adopted the UPC, so not all estates will be eligible for informal probate. Informal probate simplifies the process of probate by removing the step-by-step oversight of the probate court.

What is a formal proceeding? ›

Formal proceedings are defined in EPIC to mean proceedings conducted before a judge with notice to interested persons.

Does an informal will count? ›

An application must be made to the Supreme Court, and the court must be satisfied that the deceased intended for the document to operate as their last valid Will. So, it won't be enough to present a handwritten note that is simply jotting down some thoughts and wishes from the deceased.

When can you do an informal probate in Massachusetts? ›

Informal probate

A magistrate can issue an informal order as early as 7 days after the decedent's (the person who has died) death. Informal probate is only available if: You have the original will. You have the official death certificate.

How long does formal probate take in Massachusetts? ›

Since creditors have a year (after the death) to come forward with claims, probate in Massachusetts usually takes a year or so. If there is a court battle over the will (which is uncommon), or if there are unusual assets or debts, it can take much longer.

How long does informal probate take in Minnesota? ›

The length of the probate process will vary greatly depending on things such as the size and complexity of the estate. More often than not, however, probate will wrap up in about six months to one year. Some estates, however, can take years to go through probate.

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