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to act as guardians, where none are appointed therein. And whether executors and guardians be appointed by the testator or not, both are required to give security for the faithful performance of their trust, before assuming it, except in the case of a guardian where the will otherwise directs.



In each organized county in Michigan, there is required to be elected at a general election, a Judge of Probate, whose term of office is four years. This officer is invested with judicial power, in all matters relating to the settlement of estates of deceased persons, executors, administrators, infants and guardians, and is charged with the keeping of the seal, books, files and papers belonging to the Court of Probate, and is required to keep, or cause to be kept, a correct record of all orders, decrees, and other official acts; which record is by law subject to the inspection of all persons interested, without charge. In this court of the proper county, all wills of real and personal estate are required to be proved and recorded; for it is provided that no will shall be effectual to pass either real or personal estate, unless it shall have been duly proved and allowed in the Probate Court; and that the probate of a will shall be conclusive evidence of its due execution. [R. S., 275, Sec. 12.)

Applications to the Probate Court, for the proof of any will, after the decease of the testator, may be made by any person having an interest therein, or in its execution, or by any heir of the testator, in writing. Such applications are usually in the form of a petition, duly verified, praying for citations to the “heirs and next of kin of the deceased.” On the return of such process, or upon some other day or term to which the hearing may be adjourned, it is the duty of the Judge to examine the subscribing witnesses, and such others as may be produced, and to hear, determine, and adjudge

upon all matters relating as well to the capacity of the testator, as to the validity in other respects, of the will produced. If it appear, however, by the consent in writing of all the heirs at law, or by other satisfactory evidence, that no person interested in the estate intends to object to the probate of the will, he has a discretion to grant probate thereof, upon the testimony of one subscribing witness, without requiring the attendance of all of them, although the others should be within reach of the process of the court. (Id., Sec. 13.)

In relation to foreign wills, it is provided that if they shall have been proved and allowed in any other of the United States, or in any foreign country, according to the laws of such State or territory, or country, they may be allowed and recorded in Michigan, in the manner and for the purposes following: “a copy of the will and of the probate thereof, duly authenticated, shall be produced by the executor, or by any person interested therein, to the Judge of Probate, in any county in which there is any estate, real or personal, on which the will may operate, whereupon the Judge shall assign the time and place for hearing the case, and shall cause notice thereof to all persons interested, to be given in some public newspaper, three weeks successively, the first publication to be thirty days at least before the time so assigned. And if, upon the bearing, it shall appear to the Judge that the instrument ought to be allowed in Michigan as the last will and testament of the deceased, he shall order the copy to be filed and recorded, and letters testamentary or of administration with the will annexed, as the case may be, to issue thereon, the same as if said will had been originally proved in Michigan.”


The statutes provide that, “ when any person shall die, seized of any lands, tenements, or hereditaments, or of any right thereto, or entitled to any interest therein, in fee sim

ple, or for the life of another, not having lawfully derived the same, they shall descend, subject to his debts, in manner following:

1. In equal shares to his children, and to the issue of any deceased child by right of representation; and if there be nu child of the intestate living at his death, his estate shall de scend to all his other lineal descendants; and if all the said descendants are in the same degree of kindred to the intestate, they shall have the estate equally ; otherwise they shall take according to the right of representation.

2. If he shall leave no issue, his estate shall descend to his father.

3. If he shall leave no issue, nor father, his estate shall descend in equal shares to his brothers and sisters, and to the children of any deceased brother or sister, by right of representation; provided, that if he shall leave a mother also, she shall take an equal share with his brothers and sisters.

4. If the intestate shall leave no issue, nor father, and no brother, nor sister, living at his death, bis estate shall descend to his mother, to the exclusion of the issue, if any, of deceas, ed brothers or sisters.

5. If the intestate shall have no issue, and no father, mother, brother, nor sister, his estate shall descend to his next of kin in equal degree; excepting, that where there are two or more collateral kindred in equal degree, but claiming through different ancestors, those who claim through the nearest ancestor shall be preferred to those claiming through an ancestor more remote; provided, however,

6. If any person shall die, leaving several children, or leaving one child, and the issue of one or more others, and any such surviving child shall die under age, and not having been married, all the estate that came to the deceased child by inheritance from such deceased parent, shall descend in equal shares to the other children of the same parent, and to

the issue of any such other children who shall have died. by right of representation.

7. If, at the death of such child who shall die under age, and not having been married, all the other children of his said parent shall also be dead, and any of them shall have left issue, the estate that came to said child by inheritance from his said parent shall descend to all the issue of the other children of the same parent; and if all the said issue are in the same degree of kindred to the said child, they shall share the said estate equally; otherwise, they shall take according to the right of representation.

8. If the intestate shall leave no kindred, his estate shall escheat to the people of this State." [R. S., 268, Sec. 1.]

It is further provided, that illegitimates shall inherit from their mother the same as if born in wedlock; but they cannot claim any part of the estate of any of her kindred, either lineal or collateral, by reason of their representation of their mother. The mother is the lawsul heir of an illegitimate who dies intestate without issue, except where, after the birth of an illegitimate, the parents intermarry, and the father, after the marriage, acknowledge the illegitimate as his child. In such case, the child is held by statute, to be, to all intents and purposes, legitimate; hence, the mother is not then the heir. Posthumous children are considered as living at the death of their parent. [Id., Sec. 13.]

Kindred of the half blood inherit equally with those of the whole blood. In computing the degrees of kindred, the statute requires the rules of the civil law to be followed. They alone control.


All real estate in Michigan, with the exceptions hereinafter enumerated, is subject to taxation, and for that purpose

the term includes as well all lands within the State, as all buildings and things erected thereon or affixed thereto. The exemptions are, all property of the United States, or of this State; all the public or corporate property of the several counties, cities, townships, villages, and school districts; the real estate of all literary, benevolent, charitable, and scientific institutions; all property exempt from execution; all houses of religious worship, tombs, and rights of burial; and all estates of Indians. The statute provides that taxes on real estate shall be assessed in the township where the estate lies, to the person who shall be either the owner, or in possession thereof, on the third Monday in April in each year; and in cases of mortgaged real estate, the mortgagor shall be deemed the owner, and be taxable therefor until the mortgagee shall take possession thereof; after which, the mortgagee shall be deemed the owner. [R. S., 77.]

By an act passed in 1843, it was provided, that the Supervisors of towns, in the towns where there shall be no Assessors elected, (and where Assessors are elected, then the Asses. sors, being two in number,) shall, between the third Monday in April and the third Monday in May in each year, make out an assessment roll of all the taxable property in their townships, either by visiting the residence of each individual, or inquiring personally of the owner, or occupant, of any estate to be taxed, if said owner reside within said township, and shall appraise the same at its true cash value. And in all cases where the owner is an occupant, the assessment shall be in his name, but otherwise, in the name of the occupant; and where a farm lies in two or more townships, the farm shall be assessed in the township where the mansion house may be, and no other. After the assessment roll is completed, a day fixed by law is given until which any person aggrieved may show cause by affidavit, or other satisfactory evidence, why it should be altered ; and on the day when the Assessors meet to review their assessment, the evidence

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