Sorry to hear about your mother's death. To partially answer your question, you will need to open an estate in the county where your mother lived. Answering your question further requires knowledge of what documents your mother may have had and how were other assets titled. Did she have a will or trust? Are there assets that need to be probated? How was her home, vehicle and other assets titled? Were beneficiaries properly designated for accounts? What is the size of the estate, meaning the value of its assets.
Certainly, it would be easier to assist you if you could provide this information. However, to simply answer your question, to open an informal probate proceding, you will need to initailly file PC 558 - Application for Informal Probate and Appointment of Personal Representative; PC 565 - Testimony of Interested Persons; PC 568 - Registers Statement; PC 571 - Acceptance of Appointment; PC 572 - Letters of Authority. You may also need to file other documents depending on your situation. You will have to pay a filing fee of $150 and publication fee of $71.30.
You may contact the probate court and they may have a packet of forms for you to prepare and file.
The information provided is presented for informational purposes and should not be construed to constitute legal advice nor is it intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is recommended that you seek the advice of independent counsel regarding your individual legal issues.
In addition to the response provided by Attorney Baran, which is excellent, I would simply state that, if your mother's estate does not have any probate assets, then you may be able to request the medical records, without opening an estate. There is also a procedure where you have a personal representative appointed solely to seek medical records. I have not used this procedure, because there are almost always assets. If you simply want to investigate whether or not malpractice or wrongful death actions might be maintained, you may be able to obtain the medical records without having to go through the expense and the added responsibilities that a probate estate will require.
Your real concern is whether your mother died because of malpractice.
Therefore, you really need to see an attorney that practices in Probate and Estate Planning, who can also refer your case to a qualified attorney to investigate the wrongful death lawsuit.
There are very short deadlines involved in Michigan to sue a health care provider for medical malpractice. You need an attorney to order those records and to determine the time limits that apply to your case.