Formal Estate Proceeding

A formal petition may request supervised administration (case type suffix is DA) or unsupervised administration (case type suffix is DE).

Supervised administration requires the Probate Court to review and approve the activities of the estate.

Unsupervised administration does not require the Probate Court's review or approval. There are limited filing requirements. An interested person or the personal representative may request supervision at any point on a particular issue, or for the duration of the administration.

For complete info, please refer to the following brochures:  

Planning to Administer a Decedent's Estate - Brochure #8
General Information Sheet for the Opening of a Decedents Estate - PEMH 1024

Below are the forms that must be completed to start an estate proceeding formally in Oakland County Probate Court. When the required forms are completed, bring them to Oakland County Probate Court.

Please arrive by 4pm for same day processing.


Forms to start an estate formally may be hand-delivered or mailed. The staff will check that venue is appropriate; that all necessary forms are presented and completed correctly; and that the correct filing fee is enclosed. A copy of the death certificate indicating an Oakland County residence must be attached to the petition as well, with some exceptions.

  • The filing fee to commence an estate is $175.00.
  • Letters of Authority cost $12.00 each.
  • Cash, check (made out to Oakland County Probate Court) or credit card.
  • Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover accepted.
  • Service fees for copies and certifications apply for credit cards only.
  • Please do not mail cash.


If publication is required and the personal representative chooses to publish in the Legal News, a check made out to the Oakland County Legal News for $110.95 must be included, unless other arrangements are made.

Documents to start an Estate Formally:

  1. Death certificate
  2. If testate, the decedent's last will and testament.  Note: the court will check for any wills on file.

These forms may be required based on the specific situation:

Note - The Bond form is needed in very specific situations:

  1. intestate estates with full waivers and consents
  2. testate estates in which the will provisions do not clearly state that no bond is required.

To grant the Petition without a hearing, the court must have full Waiver/Consent - PC 561 from all interested persons.

If the petition is granted, the personal representative will need to provide the court with the following forms:

If the petition is granted and the personal representative files the appropriate qualifying documents (an Acceptance of Appointment and a Bond of Fiduciary, if required) the court will issue Letters of Authority, which are proof of the personal representative’s authority to act. The second page of the Letters includes valuable information about duties and due dates.  When an estate is opened formally, Oakland County Letters contain the following restriction: “The personal representative shall not sell any real estate without further order of the court."

The personal representative must also provide the Friend of the Court with Personal Representative Notice of the Friend of the Court - PC 618.  It is not filed with the Probate Court. 

The court is not allowed to advise or guide you in terms of administering the estate but for providing appropriate forms.

If the estate administration proceeds as supervised, the following documents will be required during administration:

Inventory - Decedent Estate - PC 577

This document must specifically describe all of the decedent’s assets and their value as of the date of death. Real estate is valued at two times the state equalized value (SEV) or by an appraisal as of the date of death. A legal description must be included. The name and address of each financial institution listed must also be included. The Inventory must be filed within 91 days of the date of the Letters of Authority for the court to determine the gross estate fee. There is no filing fee, but see below regarding the Gross Estate Fee.

Account of Fiduciary, Short Form - PC 583  or Account of Fiduciary, Long Form - PC 584

An account covers a one-year period starting on the date the Letters of Authority are issued and ending on the anniversary date. They must be filed annually within 56 days of the anniversary date and served on all interested persons.

All accounts must be itemized, showing receipts and disbursements in detail. A written description of services performed must be included or appended if a personal representative seeks compensation. There is a $20 filing fee for each annual account.  

Notice of Continued Administration - PC 587

Gross Estate Fee (also known as the Inventory Fee)

This is a graduated fee based on the gross value of all estate assets as of the date of death. For each parcel of real estate, mortgage liens will be deducted up to the value of that parcel for purposes of calculating this fee if the decedent died on or after 3/28/2013. Subtract any applicable mortgage liens before adding up the value of all assets to determine the Inventory Value. Insert that Inventory Value in our Inventory Fee Calculator to determine the fee. It must be paid no later than the filing of the Petition for an Order of Complete Estate Settlement, the Sworn Statement - PC 591, or one year after appointment, whichever is earlier. The court will calculate the exact fee. In the event of a variance the fee calculated by the court shall override the online Inventory Fee Calculator.

The gross estate fee may be paid by cash (except by mail), checks or money orders made out to Oakland County Probate Court, or credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express​ and Discover).

Before an estate may be closed, the procedures indicated inImportant Notice for Personal Representatives/Closing a Decedent's Estate must be followed.

Notice: This is meant as a brief description of this topic and is not meant to be all-inclusive.  Consult the statutes and court rules or an attorney for additional information about the duties and responsibilities of a personal representative, including extensive service requirements.  Probate staff is prohibited from giving legal advice and providing specific guidance on administration.

Please arrive by 4pm for same day processing.