Alicia Kellog

Hello Everyone,
This is Alicia from Access Title Agency. I wanted to show you all some information you can find on the Leelanau County website regarding wills, trusts and probate. Watch the video below.

On the Leelanau County website, you can find a page regarding wills. When you have a will done you have the choice of depositing your will with the County Probate Court. The purpose of depositing your will with the County Probate Court is for the purposes of safekeeping. The County Probate Court will hold onto your Will during your lifetime.

Here are the instructions for depositing your will:
Your Last Will and Testament and/or Codicil should be placed into a sealed envelope with the following information on the outside:

  • Your name, address and last four digits of your social security number and your Michigan driver’s license number.
  • Date delivered.
  • Your Last Will and Testament and/or Codicil envelop will be stamped “filed” by the clerk.
  • There is a $25.00 filing fee to deposit the Last Will and Testament and/or Codicil.
  • You will be given receipts for the deposit of the will and filing fee.

Regardless of where your Will is stored, whether it was deposited with the County Probate Court or kept with you during your lifetime, upon your death, your Will must be delivered to the Probate Court of your county of residence.

If your Will is not already stored with the County, your personal representative must deliver it to the Probate Court within reasonable promptness upon your death. If it is not delivered to the Probate Court, your personal representative is liable for damages.

It is very important to consider where to put your Will for safekeeping when it is executed. Depositing it with the County Probate Court ensures that it will be kept in a safe place for your lifetime.

I also wanted to show you a few links the County has available for you. If you click on “Information and Resources” at the bottom of the Page it will bring you to a new page with a lot of information available to you for free.

At the bottom of the page there is a link for information on “Property Transferred Without Probate.” When that page opens, it explains 4 kinds of property which pass to a new owner on death without going through probate.

  1. Property which is owned by the decedent and another person as joint tenants with right of survivorship will pass automatically to the surviving joint owner without going through probate.
  2. Beneficiary designated properties (such as life insurance, pension benefits, and IRAs) are payable on death, without probate, to the beneficiary designated by the decedent.
  3. Properties owned by a revocable trust do not go through probate but instead are disposed of after death in accordance with the instructions written into the trust document.
  4. There are even some forms of property owned solely by the decedent which would otherwise require probate that are exempt in certain instances.

Another link on the County website is contacts for Legal Advice & Self-Representation.
For example – It contains the contact information for the Michigan Legal Aid – Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors, Free Legal Aid Clinic in Traverse City & the Leelanau County Senior Services.

The County Website also has some brief information about Trusts and the different kinds of trusts. If you are considering a Trust, here would be a good start to look at the different types, so you are informed, and then consult an attorney to execute.

Finally, you will want to pay attention to the “Decedent Estates” page. This page includes information on when probate is necessary. Whether your estate requires probate can depend on numerous things. One of them is whether your Will states that you want an “Unsupervised – Informal Probate” or “Supervised – Formal Probate.” The County website gives some brief information on the difference between the two.

As always, it is best to consult an attorney when executing your estate plan and deciding what is best for your future and your beneficiary’s future.
I hope this helped you find some brief information about Wills and Probate and let you know that there are many sources out there that can help answer your questions!

By Alicia Kellogg

Alicia Kellogg is Access Title Agency’s new on-staff attorney for the Traverse City and Suttons Bay, Michigan offices. She graduated cum laude from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and is