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How long does the law give you to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries of the estate.?

Detroit, MI |

I located my father will iin his probate files. I discovered I was one of the beneficiary of his estate. I found in the probate file a inheritance tax order. What does Gross Value of Estate per inheritance tax return mean? Gross Value of Estate per Audit mean? What does Allowable Deductions After Audit mean? What does net estate Subject to tax after adjustment mean? I found another form which states Report, Petition and order for continuing Pendency On one of the lines it states, The closing and distribution of the estate have been delayed because of Failure to file closing statement. What does that mean? How long does the fiduciary have to distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.

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Attorney answers 4


I am a NY attorney and thus may not be familiar with terminology used in your state. Gross value of estate is the value before deductions; allowable deductions are those that have been permitted and after audit suggests that the tax department audits the estate and/or inheritance tax returns. Apparently there is a "closing statement," which I imagine may be akin to an inventory of assets. There usually is no set time to fully distribute the estate's assets, and it will depend on what issues arise, the nature of the assets, the size of the estate, whether there are debts and other obligations, and the like.

Good luck to you.

Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as legal advice can only be provided in circumstances in which the attorney is able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather appropriate information.


If you are speaking of a Michigan Probate Estate it sounds really old or very large estate. Inheritance tax no longer applies for less than millions of dollars. You should contact (in writing)the person who was appointed as the Personal Representative, maybe they have been trying to locate you in order to distribute. If not, go to the court pull the file, make copies and hire an attorney-- If it appears that there is any money after inheritance tax.


The State of Michigan has not had an "inheritance tax" in more than 12 years. If the file is that old, I suspect that you are not going to have any claims you can make, by virtue of the statute of limitations. Under the old rules, there were certain deductions and exemptions you could take and the tax would apply to the remainder of the estate. The amount of the tax depended on the amount received and the person who was receiving it, (their relation to the deceased.)

In cases where an inheritance tax was owed, you had to obtain a tax clearance from the State of Michigan, before the estate could be closed. It often took a year or more to file the return and obtain the clearance. In cases where the estate could not be closed on a timely basis, you had to pay to continue administration. It sounds like in this case, the estate had to be extended at least once, in order to allow sufficient time to wrap up these formalities.

The file probably also includes a Final Account, which would have listed the assets remaining, after payment of expenses, including inheritance tax. There may also be a schedule showing who received what, and perhaps receipt forms from the beneficiaries.

The fiduciary normally made the final distribution of the estate assets, once the inheritance tax clearance was received and the final account was filed with the court, (or at least provided to the beneficiaries).

James Frederick


You should make photocopies of the papers in the court's probate file. Take them to an attorney who has been practicing primarily probate law in Wayne County actively, and continously for at least 25 years, and see him/her for a consultation to go over the file with you.

This situation is too dated, and too complicated, for you to get satisfactory answers on-line.

This answer is not specific legal advise. No attorney client relationship has been established. It is general commentary on the question presented, without the benefit of a full disclosure of all relevant facts. Seek an in-person consultation with a licensed professional.