When assets are under $50,000
There are several statutes that allow for assets owned by the decedent to pass to the decedent's heirs without the necessity of probate. These statutes are exceptions to the general rule as to when probate is required.

Petition & Order for Assignment (Probate Court Procedure) - Form PC 556p:
There is a simplified procedure for distributing small estates if the balance of the gross estate is under a threshold reviewed and adjusted annually. The figure is determined by adding all assets of the decedent, less the amount of decedent’s funeral and burial expenses and any liens against any real estate. 

Estates Under $50,000 (Dates of death on/after 02/21/2024)

When assets are over the small estate threshold, or the appointment of a personal representative is needed:
Estates are filed in the county of residence/domicile of the decedent, as stated on the death certificate.

Filing Fee:
$175 filing fee + $12 for certified copy of Letters of Authority = $187 total

Priority for Appointment:
  1. Person nominated in will, if any
  2. Surviving spouse, if a devisee under the will
  3. Other devisees
  4. Surviving spouse
  5. Other heirs
  6. After 42 days after the decedent’s death, the nominee of a creditor
  7. State or county public administrator
  8. A person with priority under 2-5 above may nominate a qualified person to serve as personal representative, and that nominee has the priority of the nominator

If the person filing the paperwork has priority for appointment, or if all persons with equal priority are in agreement about who should serve as personal representative, informal appointment (by the Probate Register without a hearing) may be requested.

Informal Estate Packet (PDF)

If you do not have the original will but only a copy, if any heirs are disinherited in a will by specific statement or by omission, if parties have equal priority but may not agree about who should serve as personal representative, formal appointment (by the Judge after a hearing) may be requested.

Formal Estate Packet (PDF)

If an estate file needs to be reopened because additional assets have been discovered or for some other reason, you may file to reopen an estate.

Reopen Packet (PDF)

Recommendation Regarding Attorney:
An attorney should be consulted and retained to handle probate proceedings, especially if there is real estate involved. Estates are almost always complicated