This information is not intended to be legal advice, but a brief explanation of the basic procedure that is required. Probate Court personnel cannot give legal advice about your particular situation or complete your forms for you. You are not required to have an attorney; however, the Court cannot act as your attorney. If you do not understand process or have questions on what to do, you will need to obtain other assistance.
Depositing a Will
A Will may be deposited for safekeeping at the court at the request of the Testator. The Will must be deposited in a sealed envelope with the following information on the outside of the envelope:
Social Security Number
Only Wills from Berrien County residents may be filed with the Berrien County Probate Court. A $25 filing fee is required to deposit a Will for safekeeping.
Retrieval of a Last Will & Testament
During your lifetime, you may retrieve your original Last Will and Testament and/or Codicil at any time at no charge. However, there is a $25 filing fee each time your Last will and Testament and/or Codicil is redeposited.
All Wills held for safekeeping are confidential and can only be retrieved by presenting a proper photo identification or released to an authorized individual who has a completed Authorization to Release Will Held for Safekeeping (PC 548).
Wills of Deceased
Delivery of an original Last Will and Testament and/or Codicil is required upon the death of the individual to the Probate Court.
Regardless of where the original Last Will and Testament and/or Codicil is stored, upon death, the original Last Will and Testament and/or Codicil must be delivered to the Probate Court of the county of residence. (this is listed on the death certificate)
If the original Last Will and Testament and/or Codicil is not stored with the court, the custodian or person having possession of the original Last Will and Testament and/or Codicil must deliver it to the Probate Court with reasonable promptness upon death.