Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

 Frequently Asked Questions

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Do wills need to be recorded and where do we search?,

​There is no requirement to "record" a will.  During a person's lifetime, he or she may deposit a will with the probate court for safekeeping.  During that person's lifetime, the fact that a will may be held for safekeeping is not a public record, and only the testator (or his/her designee) may remove the will.  There is a $25.00 fee to deposit a will for safekeeping.

After the testator's death, the will be comes a public record, and upon filing of a copy of a death certificate, a copy may be obtained for $1.50 per page.

If a decedent estate has been opened with the court, the original will is part of the court file and may be viewed or a copy obtained.

How do I obtain copies of probate court documents?,

​If you know the file number or case name, call or stop by the probate court at the address listed below and you may view the file and request copies of specific pages or the whole file.  Copies are $1.50 per page.  If your case has been closed or if there are a lot of pages that need to be copied, it would be best to call ahead as the file may be in storage or it may take some time to make the copies.  The court accepts cash, check, credit, or debit.

I noticed on my mom's death certificate that they have the wrong county listed for her address. They list Genesee when her house is in Livingston. Do I need to have that changed to submit probate papers?,

Yes, we determine venue by the county of residence listed on the death certificate. 

However, there is a legal distinction between "domicile" and "residence."  A person may be "domiciled" in one county (defined as a permanent residence with an intention to remain indefinitely), yet "reside" in another (for example, if they were to be living in an assisted living center with the intent to return to their domicile at some point).  Since the court's jurisdiction is based on "domicile" rather than "residence," under certain circumstances the court could accept a notarized affidavit stating that although the "residence" listed on the death certificate is Genesee County, the "domicile" was in fact Livingston County.  Of course, if the residence on the death certificate is just wrong due to a typo, you'll still need to get the death certificate amended.