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12/17/20

Court Remains Closed to the Public

The Wayne County Probate Court will NOT be physically accessible to the public and no in-person filings will be permitted until further notice. All hearings are to be conducted remotely via ZOOM until further notice. These extraordinary measures are in place to protect the public and our staff.

Important Information on Filings

Pursuant to Local Court Rule 5.101, effective December 16, 2020 all filings by attorneys must be submitted via email. Click here to view a copy of the rule.

Details are as follows:

• Attorneys must file all items via email to probateservice@wcpc.us
• All mailed items postmarked on or after December 23, 2020 will be returned to attorneys and not accepted for filing.
• Electronic payment is not required, but it is strongly encouraged that this be done via ePayment.
• A single .pdf attachment must be used for each filing, but multiple .pdf attachments can be submitted in a single email. Example: Two .pdfs in an email – one for guardianship and one for conservatorship regarding the same person.
• A scanned copy of an original will must be submitted as part of the .pdf file. The original will must be sent to the court (via mail, certified mail, or delivery service) and received within 14 days of the email filing; failure to do so within this time period may result in the dismissal of the case.
• A process to ask for and receive an exemption from email filing is contained in this rule; it mirrors what is used under the statewide efiling court rule.
• This local court rule expires when the Supreme Court authorizes the Wayne County Probate Court’s return to full capacity.

Click here for contact information regarding questions and resolving issues related to this process.

Non-attorneys may submit filings of any type by email, fax, or regular U.S. mail. Please review the following step-by-step instructions to help us process your filings as efficiently as possible. Please note that we are not an e-filing court and this is not an automated process. Individual people are receiving your emails and faxes and processing them either on-site or remotely with new procedures created in response to the public health crisis. You will not receive immediate confirmation that we are in receipt of your filings. We appreciate your patience as we adapt to this new normal.

Processing Delays

Non-emergency filings are currently being processed 3-5 weeks after submission (whether by email, fax, or regular mail). Please be patient as we adapt to new procedures with very limited staff.

How to Submit your Non-Emergency Filing

How to submit your Non-Emergency Filing.

How to Submit your Emergency Filing


How to submit your Emergency Filing.

Filing Fees

Filings that require a fee (initial petitions such as GA or CA cases, Petition and Order for Assignment, Applications/Petitions without an original Will, subsequent petitions):

1. FEES: Once you see your document has been accepted and a new case has been started or your document has been accepted, you MUST PAY THE FILING FEE associated with that filing. See the Fee Schedule. Follow the ePayment instructions here to pay your fee online with a credit/debit card or PayPal.
2. Once your filing has been accepted and processed, fees must be paid and there are no refunds. The fee is assessed at the time of filing not based on the results of your petition/hearing.

Hearing Information

If your filing also requires a hearing (almost all petitions except for Petitions/Order for Assignment (small estates)):

1. After the fee is paid, you will receive BY EMAIL your notice of hearing packet, which includes the date and time of the hearing, the instructions to participate in the hearing via zoom, and a copy of your petition.
2. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to serve notice of the hearing on the interested parties and submit a proof of service to the court PRIOR TO THE HEARING. If publication is required, the Detroit Legal News is open and continuing to publish per their normal schedule. Contact them at cbasala@legalnews.com or 313 409-6398 to arrange for publication.
3. If your filing fee has not been paid or if you have not completed service (filed the proof of service with the court), YOUR HEARING WILL NOT GO FORWARD and your petition may be dismissed.
4. For questions related to the hearing, you may contact the courtroom (for the judge assigned to your case) directly using the directory Where/How Do I File.
5. Following the hearing held via Zoom, you will receive BY EMAIL your certified Letters of Authority once you have been appointed and qualified with filing of an Acceptance of Appointment and bond, if applicable Letters ($12 each) must be paid for via ePayment in order to receive them.
6. Please visit Case Access to view hearing information and contact the courtroom for Zoom instructions if needed.
7. All hearings starting on March 16th were held via Zoom. All future hearing dates are scheduled for Zoom until further notice.

How to Request Updated Letters of Authority

Requesing Updated Letters of Authority.

ImageAccess

Please be aware that you can now view images from case files via the Case Access link on this site. This change has been implemented to facilitate the review of documents due to the restriction of access to the Court during the public health emergency. The following items will not be accessible:

• Confidential documents
• Sealed cases
• Settlement agreements
• Death certificates entered separately from other filings
• Letters of authority of all types entered after 8/1/2019

Electronic Certified Copies

The court has adopted a new electronic seal to certify copies, including Letters of Authority, that will be sent to you via email, if one has been provided to the court, instead of mailing out hard copies with the raised seal.


Publication and/or Notice to Unknown Creditors

For petitions where publication is required and\or notice to unknown creditors, please be aware that the Detroit Legal News is open and continuing to publish per their normal schedule. Contact them at cbasala@legalnews.com or 313 409-6398 to arrange for publication.

Notarization

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-131 that encourages the use of remote notarization and visitation through July 15 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The text of the Order is available here. The Michigan State Bar is providing updates on their website here and here as well.

Self-Help Resources

All probate court forms are available to download here. Check our Information tab for general information about specific probate case types (opening a decedent’s estate or filing for guardianship).

The Wayne County Probate Bar Association provides a lawyer referral service and your first consultation is free: 1-800-357-7090.

Michigan Legal Help is a website with several articles covering probate topics and you can also search for legal aid organizations that serve your area or topic.

Use of technology to conduct hearings of all types remotely during this health crisis is based on the Administrative Order 2020-6 issued by the Michigan Supreme Court. SCAO has many helpful resources for participating in remote hearings and other materials related to court capacities around the state.

Questions\Further Information

Questions may be directed to info@wcpc.us. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we face this public health challenge together.

 

Performance

Performance

Judges of Probate

Hon. Freddie G. Burton, Jr., Chief Judge
Hon. David Braxton, Chief Judge Pro Tempore
Hon. Judy A. Hartsfield
Hon. Frank S. Szymanski
Hon. Terrance A. Keith
Hon. Lisa Marie Neilson
Hon. Lawrence J. Paolucci
Hon. David A. Perkins