Supervised Estates

I. Overview

Supervised administration of an estate is available in some limited circumstances and provides for close oversight by the court over the probate process. Supervised administration requires the Personal Representative to get court approval before taking many actions and a supervised Personal Representative may not make distributions from the estate without prior court order. Only a very small percentage of decedents estates go through supervised proceedings.

II. Opening a Supervised Estate Proceeding

The very first step is determining in which county the estate proceedings should be filed. This is referred to as the proper venue for a proceeding. MCL 700.1302(a) defines proper venue as being the county where the decedent was domiciled at the time of death or, if the decedent was domiciled outside of Michigan, in a county where the decedent’s property was located at the time of death. Venue provisions for supervised and unsupervised proceedings are identical.

Michigan law provides that only an “interested person” may petition the court to begin an informal probate of an estate as defined in MCR 5.125(C)(1) and discussed in more detain in the informal proceedings section.

Unlike unsupervised administration, supervised administration may only be granted by the court if it finds it is necessary regardless of whether the decedent’s will does or does not direct supervised administration, or in any other case. MCL 700.3502.

Any interested person may file a petition for supervised administration at any time, and an unsupervised administration may be changed to a supervised administration. Interested persons and notice requirements are the same for supervised administration as for unsupervised administration. The procedure and burdens of proof at a hearing regarding supervised administration are the same as those for unsupervised administration. Except that testimony about the need for court supervision is required.

Before filing a petition please read How to File a Petition in Probate Court (PDF). The forms which must be filed with or presented to the Probate Court to commence a formal proceeding are:

The court will issue an Order of Formal Proceedings (PC 569) following a hearing, if needed, which officially begins the probate administration process. The court must determine the decedent’s heirs in all formal proceedings. MCL 700.3409.

III. Duties of Personal Representative

The duties of the Personal Representative in Supervised Administration include all duties required in unsupervised administration, whether formal or informal proceedings. However, in Supervised Administration the Personal Representative is also responsible for filing an Account (PC 583), a Notice of Appointment and Duties of Personal Representative (PC 573), Notice to Spouse of Rights of Election and Allowances, Proof of Service and Election (PC 581), an affidavit of any required publication, Notice to Creditors (PC 574) and Publication of Notice of Hearing (PC 563).

The Account must be filed with the court, and served on beneficiaries, on an annual basis. The Account must be itemized showing the receipts and disbursements within the accounting period, include a description of the services performed by the Personal Representative and include notices regarding objections and the right of interested persons to review proofs of income and disbursements. The Personal Representative must prepare a final Account and service it on all interested persons except those who have already received their full share of the estate. The final Account must be filed with the court when the estate is ready for closing.

The Personal Representative must close the estate by filing a Petition for Complete Estate Settlement (PC 593). Supervised administration is terminated by the order issued by the court directing complete estate distribution and discharging the personal representative. Final distributions will generally be made after the order is entered.