Decedent Estate Proceedings: Supervised Administration
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Chapter 2: Decedent Estate Proceedings: Supervised Administration

Priority for Appointment of Personal Representative
Circumstances in Which Supervised Administration May Be Granted
Supervised Administration Proceedings
Changing Between Supervised Administration and Unsupervised Administration
Administration of the Estate
Closing the Estate

I.   Estates and Protected Individuals Code

A. Introduction

§2.1   The Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC), effective April 1, 2000, completely revised and replaced the Revised Probate Code (RPC). It integrated most of the Uniform Probate Code into Michigan law while retaining some of the unique features of Michigan law in prior codes.

Supervised administration under EPIC is a single in rem proceeding to secure the complete administration and settlement of a decedent’s estate under the court’s continuing authority that extends until entry of an order approving estate distribution and discharging the personal representative or any other order terminating the proceeding. MCL 700.3501(1). Supervised administration is covered in EPIC at MCL 700.3501–.3505.

B. Substantive Rights Under the Revised Probate Code in Estates of Decedents Who Died Before April 1, 2000

§2.2   EPIC applies to the following:

  • a governing instrument executed by a decedent who dies after April 1, 2000
  • any proceeding in court pending on or commenced after April 1, 2000, regardless of the time of the decedent’s death, except to the extent that in the court’s opinion, the former procedure should be made applicable in a particular case in the interest of justice or feasibility
  • the definition of the powers and duties after April 1, 2000, of a fiduciary who was appointed before April 1, 2000
  • the construction of a governing instrument executed before April 1, 2000, unless there is a clear indication of a contrary intent (with the exception of the construction of the phrase by representation—see MCL 700.2718(1)).

EPIC does not impair a right accrued or an action taken before April 1, 2000. MCL 700.8101(2). For example, the beneficial shares of heirs of a decedent who died intestate before April 1, 2000, are determined under the RPC.

EPIC does apply to determine whether an instrument signed by a decedent who died before April 1, 2000, is a testamentary instrument. Korean New Hope Assembly of God v Haight  (In re Estate of Smith), 252 Mich App 120, 651 NW2d 153 (2002). In that case, the day after the execution of her will, the deceased executed a dated, handwritten document that expressed her intent to donate $150,000 to God in order to build a church. The petitioner-church offered the handwritten document as a holographic will to be probated as a codicil to the deceased’s existing will. The trial court granted the respondent summary disposition because the handwritten document failed to reflect testamentary intent. The court of appeals reversed and remanded because, under EPIC, MCL 700.2502(3), the testamentary intent of a document may be established by extrinsic evidence. The EPIC provision applied even though the decedent died before its effective date, because a devise under a will is not an accrued right.

A will created before EPIC’s effective date for a decedent who died on or after April 1, 2000, is governed by the provisions of EPIC unless there is a clear indication of contrary intent. Leete v Sherman  (In re Estate of Leete), 290 Mich App 647, 803 NW2d 889 (2010).

II.   Jurisdiction and Venue

§2.3   The probate court has exclusive jurisdiction of matters relating to the settlement of an estate of a deceased person who was at the time of death domiciled either in the county or out of state leaving an estate within the county to be administered. This includes, but is not limited to, the following types of proceedings:

  • the internal affairs of the estate
  • estate administration, settlement, and distribution
  • declaration of rights that involve an estate, devisee, heir, or fiduciary
  • construction of a will
  • determination of heirs

MCL 700.1302(a).

EPIC controls when there is an out-of-state decedent whose Michigan property passes intestate (with the possible exception of rules regarding spousal election). In re Estate of Huntington, No 354006, ___ Mich App ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Sept 16, 2021) (when there was no evidence that out-of-state estate had been opened, probate court erred in failing to determine heirs under EPIC’s rules of intestate succession regarding Michigan property and share of each such heir). As spousal election was not sought in the case, the court looks to MCL 700.2203 for the default rules regarding intestate succession.

Probate disputes, including the question of testamentary capacity, may be settled by binding common-law arbitration. Petorovski v Nestorovski  (In re Nestorovski), 283 Mich App 177, 769 NW2d 720 (2009).

Venue for the first formal testacy or appointment proceeding after a decedent’s death is in the county where the decedent was domiciled at the time of death or, if the decedent was not domiciled in Michigan, in a county where the decedent’s property was located at the time of death. Venue for subsequent proceedings is in the place where the initial proceeding occurred, unless the court transfers the proceeding. MCL 700.3201(1), (2).

Venue may be transferred to another county on motion by an interested person or on the court’s own initiative, for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, for the convenience of the attorneys, or if an impartial trial cannot be had in the county where the action is pending. MCL 600.856, 700.3201(4); MCR 5.128. MCR 2.222 and 2.223 govern the procedure for change of venue. MCR 5.128.

If there are conflicting claims as to the decedent’s domicile in formal proceedings commenced in Michigan and in another state, the determination of domicile in the proceeding that was commenced first is determinative. MCL 700.3202.