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What Are Inventory Fees?

Under MCLA 600.871, Probate Courts throughout the State of Michigan are required to charge and collect something known as an "Inventory Fee", which sounds so much better than "a tax". Inventory fees are considered "expenses of administration", which conveniently gives the probate court priority over others, including estate beneficiaries and creditors, for payment of this amount.

MCLA 600.871 sets forth the manner of calculating inventory fees, which become more expensive, the more assets there are in an estate, to probate, or to distribute. MCLA 600.871(1) states the fee calculations as follows:

(1) In all decedents' estates in which proceedings are instituted for probate, the probate court shall charge and collect the following fees as an expense of administration on the value of all assets, as of the date of death of the decedent, as follows:

(a) In an estate of value of less than $1,000.00, $5.00 plus 1% of the amount over $500.00.

(b) In an estate of value of $1,000.00 or more, but less than $3,000.00, $25.00.

(c) In an estate of value of $3,000.00 or more but less than $10,000.00, $25.00 plus 5/8 of 1% of the amount over $3,000.00.

(d) In an estate of value of $10,000.00 or more but less than $25,000.00, $68.75 plus 1/2 of 1% of the amount over $10,000.00.

(e) In an estate of value of $25,000.00 but less than $50,000.00, $143.75 plus 3/8 of 1% of the amount over $25,000.00.

(f) In an estate of value of $50,000.00 but less than $100,000.00, $237.50 plus 1/4 of 1% of the amount over $50,000.00.

(g) In an estate of value of $100,000.00 to $500,000.00, $362.50 plus 1/8 of 1% of the amount over $100,000.00.

(h) For each additional $100,000.00 value, or larger fraction thereof, over $500,000.00, $62.50.

(i) For each additional $100,000.00 value, or larger fraction thereof, over $1,000,000.00, $31.25.

For example, in an estate worth $84,000.00, we look to MCLA 600.871(1)(f), and find that for the first $50,000.00, a fee of $237.50 is assessed, and 1/4 of 1% (or .0025) of the balance, or $85.00; the total inventory fee in this case would be $322.50.

There is a very handy resource published on the Kalamazoo Probate Court website, where one need only insert the value of the estate, and the inventory fee will be calculated automatically, for you. Because the fees are standard throughout Michigan, this is a very handy resource for anyone in Michigan, regardless of where you live, or where the estate is being probated. The link to the Kalamazoo Probate Court inventory fee calculator is found here.  As you can see, the Kalamazoo Probate Court Inventory Fee calculator site, also links to a PDF document, setting forth the various fees found in different types of Probate Court matters (e.g., Guardianship, Conservatorship, Trust matters, etc.).  Just link to the Kalamazoo site, here, and click the link you will find there, entitled "The Michigan Probate Court Fee and Distribution Schedule".

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