What do you need to know about closing an estate in Michigan?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2022 | Estate Planning

Closing an estate in Michigan is the last stage of your role as executor. When you close the estate, you are informing the court that you fulfilled your duties. You can expect the process to take at least five months because there are many tasks you need to complete before you can close.

Debts and expenses come first

Before distributing assets to beneficiaries, you need to pay debts and expenses of the deceased first. This includes filing their tax returns. In some situations, the deceased has so many debts and expenses that some or all of the named beneficiaries may not receive anything or less than what they expected. You can’t close an estate until you finish handling all of these issues. Michigan allows creditors a four-month period after you give them notice of the decedent’s death to claim recovery of the debt, so it can easily take you over five months before you can close.

File with the court

Once you’re ready to close the estate, Michigan requires that you file a document with the court. You might also have to provide a final accounting and receipts from the beneficiaries.

Reasonable fee

Michigan allows you to pay yourself a “reasonable fee” from the estate to compensate yourself for the time you spend serving as executor. It’s important to be fair and reasonable because the probate court reserves the right to decrease how much you pay yourself if they find it isn’t reasonable.

Stay diligent

You must fulfill your duties on time and correctly. Otherwise, the Michigan probate court has the right to take away your authority as executor of the estate and assign the role to someone else. Each task you must complete closing the estate has a deadline and rules to follow. The court could also hold you liable for losses if you failed to do something quickly and on time.

Closing an estate is a simple process, but you need to finish a variety of tasks first. Make a list of all of the tasks you need to complete along with their deadlines to ensure that you don’t miss something.