How Do I Find My Own Probate Leads in this County?

10 Replies

I went to the Probate Court in Detroit a few days ago to take a stab at grabbing my own probate leads for Wayne County, Michigan.

Unlike some of the adjacent counties, that have a book of all of the probate case filings, Wayne County doesn't.  Wayne County has a search engine that you have to enter either a case number or a last name to search with.

It seems like the only option to find leads on my own in Wayne County is to reference the newspaper each week and document the names of people that pass away, then search for them over a period of time on the county's computer system.

This option isn't very appealing to me, and feels downright morbid.

Is there any other way to find the names or case numbers of filings that I can use to search the system to obtain my own probate leads?

I would file a FOIA that's typical Wayne County.  That's another reason to stay out of the county.  The systems are all messed up.

Filing a Freedom of Information Act request, huh?  I have no experience doing that, and it sounds a little overwhelming, but I'll look into it.

Originally posted by @Scott K. :

I would file a FOIA that's typical Wayne County.  That's another reason to stay out of the county.  The systems are all messed up.

 I just went to the FOIA.gov website, and it looks like FOIA requests can only be submitted to federal agencies, so I don't think a local county municipalities can receive them, unless I'm reading something wrong.

Originally posted by @Alvin Grier :
Originally posted by @Scott K.:

I would file a FOIA that's typical Wayne County.  That's another reason to stay out of the county.  The systems are all messed up.

 I just went to the FOIA.gov website, and it looks like FOIA requests can only be submitted to federal agencies, so I don't think a local county municipalities can receive them, unless I'm reading something wrong.

No you read it wrong.  Any city, township or county must abide by the rules.  But you know rules and wayne county don't mix 

Originally posted by @Alvin Grier :

I went to the Probate Court in Detroit a few days ago to take a stab at grabbing my own probate leads for Wayne County, Michigan.

Unlike some of the adjacent counties, that have a book of all of the probate case filings, Wayne County doesn't.  Wayne County has a search engine that you have to enter either a case number or a last name to search with.

It seems like the only option to find leads on my own in Wayne County is to reference the newspaper each week and document the names of people that pass away, then search for them over a period of time on the county's computer system.

This option isn't very appealing to me, and feels downright morbid.

Is there any other way to find the names or case numbers of filings that I can use to search the system to obtain my own probate leads?

Freedom of Information Act

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA)

The Act MCLA 15.231 et seq regulates and sets requirements for the disclosure of public records by public bodies within the state. A public record is writing prepared, owned, and used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body in the performance of an official function, from the time it is created. In general, all records except those cited as exceptions are covered by the Act.

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act as amended by 1996 PA 553 regulates and sets requirements for the disclosure of public records by all public bodies in the state including all state agencies, county and other local governments, school boards, other boards, departments, commissions, councils, and public colleges and universities.

Who can make a Freedom of Information request?

Public documents may be requested under the Freedom of Information Act by an individual, corporation, Limited Liability Company, partnership, firm, organization, association, governmental entity, or other legal entity.

How do I make a request under the Freedom of Information Act?

Requests for public records of the Wayne County Treasurer must be submitted to:
David Szymanski
Chief Deputy Treasurer,
Wayne County Treasurer's Office
400 Monroe, Suite 550
Detroit, MI 48226
Fax: 313-224-2921

Questions: Christina Horvath - (313) 224-5950

I am here to help.

@Scott K.  

Morbidity or not, money is money, and your are helping the heirs get it!

  I use [email protected], and have found them to be quite inexpensive, compared to other probate list providers.

Thanks a lot.  I'm going to give that young lady a call first thing in the morning.  Like you, I haven't had the best of experiences dealing with Wayne County, but I'll give this a shot.

Originally posted by @Dave Metsker :

@Scott K.  

Morbidity or not, money is money, and your are helping the heirs get it!

  I use [email protected], and have found them to be quite inexpensive, compared to other probate list providers.

 True.  And if this FOIA attempt fails with Wayne County, I might just have to start documenting deaths.  Maybe I'll just have to get over it.  

As you eluded to, helping people with these probate issues is a win-win for everyone.

What's bad is good and what's ggod is bad.

Be grateful that probates are not available for free online in your area.

Winners find ways!

Morbid? Naw! Someday, someone will have to deal with my estate and yours too, if you have assets. It's only stuff, after all. We won't be taking it anywhere. Your estate list folks didn't take their properties with them, either.