Home ::

Contact Information

  • Bay County Probate Court
    1230 Washington Ave., Suite 715
    Bay City, Michigan 48708-5737
  • Phone: (989) 895-4206
  • Monday - Friday
    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Resources

FAQ

Who Must Do The Service (link to glossary)?

The petitioner or attorney for the petitioner are responsible for serving the interested persons.

What If I Do Not Have An Address For An Interested Person?

You must serve notice by publication indicating whereabouts unknown. You will need to complete form Declaration of Intent to Give Notice by Publication - PC 617. Additionally, You will need to file a Publication of Notice of Hearing - PC 564 form and submit a copy to the Valley Farmer, Pinconning Journal or The Bay City Times, and file an Affidavit of Publication with the court.

How Do I Know If I Need To Probate An Estate?

Only if the decedent has property in their name alone.

Can I Transfer Property With Just A Will?

No — a will does not provide authority to transfer property. A will states the decedent’s wishes, and nominates a personal representative, who receives authority from the court.

When Do I seek An Attorney?

An attorney is not strictly necessary for probate, but it is strongly advised to consult with one. The court staff, by law, cannot provide legal advice.

What happens if the decedent has a beneficiary or co owner? Is probate still necessary?

No. In this instance, ownership is directly transferred to either the beneficiary or co owner.

Wills and Estates

The court is prohibited by law from offering legal advice or completing forms. It is strongly advised to consult an attorney with any questions.

This section provides a basic guide to opening a decedent’s estate in addition to information specific to small estates.

Read your forms carefully as they may give you guidance on how to proceed. We recommend consulting an attorney for assistance with completing filing these forms with Probate Court.

Formal Estate Proceedings

A formal petition may request supervised administration or unsupervised administration.

Supervised administration requires the Probate Court to review and approve the activities of the estate.

Unsupervised administration does not require the Probate Court's review or approval. There are limited filing requirements. An interested person or the personal representative may request supervision at any point on a particular issue, or for the duration of the administration.

Complete the forms below and submit them to Bay County Probate Court to formally begin an estate proceeding.

Required Forms

Note: A death certificate must also be filed with the Court (a certified copy is not required).

Petition for Probate and/or Appointment of Personal Representative (Testate/Intestate) - PC559

Testimony To Identify Heirs - PC565

Supplemental Testimony To Identify Non Heir Devisees, Testate Estate - PC566

Acceptance of Appointment - PC571

Order of Formal Proceedings - PC569

Letters of Authority - PC572

Proof of Service - PC564

Fees

A filing fee of $175.00 is required to begin formal estate proceedings.

Informal Estate Proceedings

Applications for Informal proceedings results in unsupervised administration.

Informal proceedings are directed to the probate registrar. These proceedings are initiated by filling an application for informal probate and/or appointment of a personal representative.

Complete the forms below to start an estate proceeding informally in Bay County Probate Court. Submit the completed forms to Bay County Probate Court.

Required Forms

Note: A death certificate must also be filed with the Court (a certified copy is not required).

Application for Informal Probate and/or Appointment of a Personal Representative - PC558

Testimony, To Identify Heirs - PC565

Supplemental Testimony To Identify NonHeir Devisees - PC566

Acceptance of Appointment - PC571

Renunciation of Right to Appointment, Nomination of Personal Representative and Waiver of Notice - PC567

Registers Statement - PC568

Letter of Authority for Personal Representative - PC572

Proof of Service - PC564

Fees

A filing fee of $175.00 is required.

Small Estates

An estate is designated as small when the value of its property is less than the specified threshold, which is $24,000.00 as of 2020.

Section 700.3982 of Michigan Compiled Law states, in part:

Section 3982:

Upon a showing of evidence, satisfactory to the court, of payment of the expenses for the decedent's funeral and burial and if the balance of a decedent's gross estate consists of property of the value of $15,000 or less, the court may order that the property be turned over to the surviving spouse or, if there is not a spouse, to the decedent's heirs.

Alternatively, if any expenses are left unpaid by relatives of the decedent, the law states the following:

Upon a showing of evidence, satisfactory to the court, that the decedent's funeral or burial expenses are unpaid or were paid by a person other than the estate, and if the balance of the gross estate after payment of the expenses would consist of property of the value of $15,000 or less, the court shall order that the property be first used to pay the unpaid funeral and burial expenses, or to reimburse the person that paid those expenses, and may order that the balance be turned over to the surviving spouse or, if there is not a spouse, to the decedent's heirs.”

Required Forms

Petition and Order for Assignment - PC 556 (PDF)

Fees

$25.00 Filing Fee

$12.00 Certified Copy Fee

*Inventory fee varies depending on the value of the assets.

Required Items

  • A completed petition (front and back) typed or printed legibly in ink (PC 556). Only an heir or an individual who paid for the funeral bill may file this petition.
  • An itemized funeral bill marked “Paid in Full” which shows the amount paid and who paid it. If the funeral bill is not paid, you must have a copy of the bill showing the amount due.
  • A copy of the decedent’s death certificate.
  • The completed petition must show the value of all assets as of the date of death.
  • Verification of the value of the asset(s).

Examples of sources for information include newspaper clippings showing stock values; quotes from an auto dealer or printout from an online value determination website showing the value of the auto, truck, etc. If there is real estate under the decedent’s name, a tax statement or some other document showing the state equalized value for the year of death is required. (The state equalized value is doubled for purposes of listing the real estate value on the petition). Additionally, bank statements may be used to verify the balance in the decedent’s account, i.e. checking, savings, investments, etc.