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Unsupervised estates means no court supervision. It’s a little misleading because you’ll file an application to administer the estate with the court and keep it updated as to the estate’s progress. But you don’t need to file a petition and request the court’s permission or approval for everything you’re doing; that’s supervised administration.
I’ll file an application for unsupervised administration if I’m not worried about a dispute breaking out between the beneficiaries or creditors. Assuming that remains to be true throughout the case, from opening to closing, it usually takes 5 to 6 months to move an estate through an unsupervised administration.
Supervised administration means that everything that’s done requires court permission or approval. A petition and order for the probate court’s approval is necessary in the following circumstances:
. Determination of heirs
. Admission of the will
. Filing of the estate’s inventory
. Payment to creditors
. Sale of the estate’s realty and personal property
. Distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries
. Filing of the accounting
The amount of court appearances should be kept to a minimum in order to minimize costs. For example, one can file the determination of heirs and admission of the will to probate at the same time. But evidentiary hearings may need to be held before the court will approve an order. This increases costs to the estate, reduces the amount to be distributed, and takes more time before the beneficiaries are paid out, which is really not the goal for everyone involved (or at least it shouldn't be).
Given the increased costs associated with supervised administration, it's important to determine if it's necessary. But some estates can’t avoid it’s necessity when the interested persons can't agree.
Special procedures are allowed in cases where the decedent died with assets valued at no more than $22,000.00 after funeral expenses are paid. There’s no need to open an estate, give notice to creditors, or file an inventory. The decedent’s personal property and real estate can be distributed immediately to the surviving spouse or the decedent’s heirs upon court order after a petition and order for assignment is approved. This is a quick and inexpensive mechanism to transfer assets in circumstances where the decedent didn’t own much.
LaBre Law Office
68897 S. Cass St., P.O. Box 550
Edwardsburg, MI 49112
Ph: (269) 663-8554
Fx: (269) 663-7701