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The Jurisdiction of the Probate Court of the
State of Michigan and the Procedure

under the Different Branches

The Probate Court of the State of Michigan has power to grant administration of the estates of deceased persons; admit wills to probate; appoint trustees to carry out the trusts mentioned in a will; determine who were or are the legal heirs of a deceased person and entitled to inherit the real estate whereof said deceased died seized; appoint guardians of minors, incompetents, spendthrifts, drunkards and inebriates; confirm the adoption and change of name of minor children; authorize the change of name of an adult; admit to the hospitals of the state insane persons and to fix the amount that shall be paid from their estates or by their relatives toward their support at the hospitals and to appoint commissioners to determine the necessity of taking land for drains or for railroads. The Juvenile division of the Probate Court which was established by the legislature at the special session in the year 1907, has control of all dependent and neglected children, and of all juvenile offenders.

There are a multiplicity of other duties which have been added from time to time by the legislature, but the lines indicated above are the ones in which the public is most interested.

BLANKS

In 1902, a system of uniform blanks was prepared by a committee of the association of the Probate Judges of Michigan. These blanks have been gradually adopted by the different probate judges in the state. These blanks will be furnished by the counties for the purpose of using them in the proceedings in the courts. References will be made to the numbers throughout this pamphlet. The use of the blanks, it is believed, will greatly simplify both the work of the probate clerk and the practitioner in the court.

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SETTLEMENT OF ESTATES OF DECEASED

PERSONS

When a man dies leaving property, the first step is to ascertain whether he left a last will. If he did, he is said to have died testate; if he left no will, he is said to have died intestate. It is always important to ascertain in the first instance as to the title of the real estate. The title of land is now being taken to a great extent in the name of husband and wife, the survivor taking the whole title. Frequently there have been complete administrations of estates when title was left by so-called joint deed and there was as a matter of law no land belonging to the de

ceased person.

The person appointed by the probate court to take charge of an estate of a person who died leaving no will is called an administrator; one who is named in the will for that purpose, and is afterward appointed by the court, is called the executor; one who is appointed by the court where no executor is named in the will, is called an administrator with the will annexed; one who is appointed to complete the work of an administrator or executor who has died or has been removed from his office, is called an administrator de bonis non in the case of an intestate estate and an administrator de bonis non with the will annexed in the case of a testate estate.

As the duties of these different officials are very similar, for the sake of brevity the word administrator will be used to designate the person who has charge of an estate of a deceased person under appointment of the court.

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ADMINISTRATORS Secs. 9322-9340 When a man dies intestate, the law Blank Nos. 4051 to 4055

provides on the application of the widow or next of kin, that an administrator may be appointed by the probate court of the county of which the deceased was an inhabitant at the time of his death, to take charge of the estate, and after the payment of his debts, distribute it to his heirs. If the deceased leaves a widow, she usually makes the petition to the probate court for the appointment, and her selection of an administrator, if he is a suitable and competent person, is, as a rule, confirmed by the court. In case the widow or next of kin neglect for thirty days after the death to make application, a creditor may apply for administration.

Sec. 9340. The court, on filing the petition, apP. A. 1911, P. 46

points the day of hearing and causes notice of the same and of the time and place of hearing thereof to be given by personal service on all persons interested, or by publication for three successive weeks preceding the day of hearing, in a newspaper designated by the court published in the county in which the application is made.

It is the duty of the petitioner to see that proof of the publication or of personal service of the notice is filed with the court on or before the time of hearing. An appointment made without such proof is void.

On the day of hearing, any person interested in the estate is entitled to be heard upon the matters set forth in the petition, but if there is no objection offered, it is the usual practice to appoint the person named therein.

The administrator, in the order appointing him, is required by the court to give a bond, usually in a penal sum double the amount of the personal property. After receiving the bond, the administrator should fill in the names of the sureties, see that it is properly dated, sign it on the first line as principal and have the sureties sign on the lines following; have the sureties swear to their financial responsibility as provided on the back of the blank and file the bond within twenty days after his appointment.

Upon the filing and approval of the bond the court appoints appraisers, limits the time for the settlement of the estate and issues letters of administration, which authorizes the administrator to take charge of, administer and dispose of the estate of the deceased according to law.

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