Supervised administration is defined in the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC) at MCL 700.3501(1):
As a single in rem proceeding to secure complete administration and settlement of a decedent's estate under the court's continuing authority that extends until entry of an order approving estate distribution and discharging the personal representative or other order terminating the proceedings.
There are two major parts which define supervised administration. The statutory requirement are found in Article III, Part 5 of EPIC. Michigan Court Rule 5.310 also controls how to proceed with supervised administration. Anyone using supervised administration should be familiar with both the statute and the rule. In its simplest form, supervised administration is begun by a formal proceeding and ends with an order of complete estate settlement which approves estate distribution. Between beginning and end we have "unsupervised administration." A supervised personal representative is responsible to the court and the court may direct the personal representative concerning the estate. However, except as otherwise ordered by the Court, a supervised personal representative has the same powers as a personal representative who is not supervised. The one notable exception to this is that a supervised personal representative shall not make a distribution of the estate without prior court order. This would include any partial distributions.
Supervised administration is commenced by filing a petition rather than an application. Such a petition may be joined with a petition in a formal testacy or formal appointment proceeding. Such a petition may be filed at any time during estate administration. When supervised administration is requested after adjudication, an interested person files a Petition for Supervised Administration After Previous Adjudication (PC 560). After a petition for supervised administration, even if denied, the court must decide:
Supervised administration is not a favored form of estate administration under EPIC. It may only be ordered under most circumstances upon a showing of necessity. Just because an interested person requests it should not be enough. MCL 700.3502(3) states the circumstance under which supervised administration may be ordered:
The filing of a petition for supervised administration has the effect on other proceedings as described in MCL 700.3503:
Pursuant to Michigan Court Rule 5.310 the personal representative must file the following additional papers with the court and serve copies on the interested persons:
Pursuant to MCR 5.310(F) at any time during supervised administration, any interested person or the personal representative may petition the court to terminate supervised administration. If the personal representative does not complete estate administration within one year after the original appointment, a Notice of Continued Administration (PC 587) pursuant to MCL 700.3951 must be filed. A supervised administration must be closed by an Order of Complete Estate Settlement (PC 595) pursuant to MCL 700.3952. Pursuant to MCR 5.312, if an estate was terminated in supervised administration, it may only be reopened by petition and order of the court.
By choosing supervised administration, personal representatives lose a lot of flexibility and subject themselves to additional filing and notice requirements. It is unclear what advantage is to be gained since the same conclusiveness gained by court orders can be obtained by selectively using formal proceedings. Personal representatives can still file papers such as proof of service with the court even though not required to be filed since the court rules now allow such filing within the discretion of the court. An estate can be closed by an order of complete estate settlement under section 3952 the same as for supervised administration. Supervised administration does force the personal representative to operate within a formal structure and it may give heirs and devisees some comfort to know that the personal representative is responsible to the court. The advantages and disadvantages should be discussed with an attorney and the choice should be made based upon the circumstances of each estate.
Kent County Courthouse
180 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 2500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm
Filings are accepted until 4:30pm
Judge David M. Murkowski
Chief Judge Probate Court
Susan B. Flakne, Register