Effective sworn statement.
Wills and Estates – Small Estates – Michigan
Small Estates General Summary: Small Estate laws were enacted in order to enable heirs to obtain property of the deceased without probate, or with shortened probate proceedings, provided certain conditions are met. Small estates can be administered with less time and cost. If the deceased had conveyed most property to a trust but there remains some property, small estate laws may also be available. Small Estate procedures may generally be used regardless of whether there was a Will. In general, the two forms of small estate procedures are recognized:
1. Small Estate Affidavit -Some States allow an affidavit to be executed by the spouse and/or heirs of the deceased and present the affidavit to the holder of property such as a bank to obtain property of the deceased. Other states require that the affidavit be filed with the Court. The main requirement before you may use an affidavit is that the value of the personal and/or real property of the estate not exceed a certain value.
2. Summary Administration -Some states allow a Summary administration. Some States recognize both the Small Estate affidavit and Summary Administration, basing the requirement of which one to use on the value of the estate. Example: If the estate value is 10,000 or less an affidavit is allowed but if the value is between 10,000 to 20,000 a summary administration is allowed.
Under Michigan statute, where as estate is valued at less than $15,000, an interested party may petition the court to order that the assets of the estate be distributed to the beneficiaries.
Michigan requirements are set forth in the statutes below.
ESTATES AND PROTECTED INDIVIDUALS CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 386 of 1998
700.3982 Court order distributing small estates.
(1) 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 $15,000.00 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.
(2) 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 $15,000.00 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.
(3) Other than a surviving spouse who qualifies for allowances under this act or the decedent’s minor children, an heir who receives property through an order under this section is responsible, for 63 days after the date of the order, for any unsatisfied debt of the decedent up to the value of the property received through the order. The court shall state in the order the condition on the distribution of property provided by this subsection.
(4) If a decedent’s estate meets the criteria for using the procedure under either this section or section 3983 and if a person is authorized by this act to use either procedure, a person, other than the court, shall not require the authorized person to use 1 procedure rather than the other.
(5) A dollar amount prescribed by this section shall be adjusted as provided in section 1210.
700.3983 Collection of personal property by sworn statement.
(1) After 28 days after a decedent’s death, a person indebted to the decedent or having possession of tangible personal property or an instrument evidencing a debt, obligation, stock, or chose in action belonging to the decedent shall pay the indebtedness or deliver the tangible personal property or the instrument to a person claiming to be the decedent’s successor upon being presented with the decedent’s death certificate and a sworn statement made by or on behalf of the successor stating all of the following:
(a) The estate does not include real property and the value of the entire estate, wherever located, net of liens and encumbrances, does not exceed $15,000.00, adjusted as provided in section 1210.
(b) Twenty-eight days have elapsed since the decedent’s death.
(c) An application or petition for the appointment of a personal representative is not pending or has not been granted in any jurisdiction.
(d) The claiming successor is entitled to payment or delivery of the property.
(e) The name and address of each other person that is entitled to a share of the property and the portion to which each is entitled.
(2) A transfer agent of a security shall change the registered ownership on the books of a corporation from the decedent to the successor or successors upon the presentation of a sworn statement as provided in subsection (1).
(3) The state court administrative office shall develop and make available a standardized form for use as a sworn statement that can be used for the procedure authorized under subsection (1). The form shall include a notice that a false statement may subject the person swearing to the statement to prosecution for perjury.
History: 1998, Act 386, Eff. Apr. 1, 2000
700.3984 Effective sworn statement.
(1) A person paying, delivering, transferring, or issuing personal property or the evidence of personal property under a sworn statement as provided in section 3983 is discharged and released to the same extent as if the person dealt with the decedent’s personal representative. The person is not required to see to the application of the personal property or evidence of the application, or to inquire into the truth of a statement in the sworn statement.
(2) If a person to whom a sworn statement is delivered under section 3983 refuses to pay, deliver, transfer, or issue personal property or evidence of personal property, the property may be recovered or its payment, delivery, transfer, or issuance compelled upon proof of a person’s right to the property in a proceeding brought for the purpose by or on behalf of the persons entitled to the property. A person to whom payment, delivery, transfer, or issuance is made is answerable and accountable for the property to a personal representative of the estate or to another person having a superior right.
History: 1998, Act 386, Eff. Apr. 1, 2000
700.3987 Summary administrative proceedings.
If it appears from the inventory and appraisal that the value of the entire estate, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed homestead allowance, family allowance, exempt property, administration costs and expenses, reasonable funeral expenses, and reasonable, necessary medical and hospital expenses of the decedent’s last illness, the personal representative, without giving notice to creditors, may immediately disburse and distribute the estate to the persons entitled to the estate and may file a closing statement as provided in section 3988.
700.3988 Closing by sworn statement of personal representative.
(1) Unless prohibited by court order and except for an estate being administered by a supervised personal representative, a personal representative may close an estate administered under the summary procedures of section 3987 by filing with the court, at any time after disbursement and distribution of the estate, a sworn statement stating all of the following:
(a) To the best knowledge of the personal representative, the value of the entire estate, less liens and encumbrances, did not exceed homestead allowance, family allowance, exempt property, administration costs and expenses, reasonable funeral expenses, and reasonable, necessary medical and hospital expenses of the decedent’s last illness.
(b) The personal representative has fully administered the estate by disbursing and distributing it to the persons entitled to the estate.
(c) The personal representative has sent a copy of the closing statement to all estate distributees and to all creditors or other claimants of whom the personal representative is aware whose claims are neither paid nor barred, and has furnished a full account in writing of the estate administration to the distributees whose interests are affected.
(2) The sworn statement filed under this section has the same effect as a sworn statement filed under section 3954. If an objection to the sworn statement is not filed within 28 days after the filing date, the register shall issue a certificate described in section 3958.
(3) If an action or proceeding involving the personal representative is not pending in the court 1 year after the closing statement is filed under this section, the personal representative’s appointment terminates.