What is a Personal Representative?
The personal representative in Michigan, also known as an executor, is the person qualified by the probate court to administer the estate of a decedent. The personal representative hires the probate lawyer, signs all probate court documents, gathers assets, pays final bills, files final tax returns, and distributes any inheritance or property to the heirs and devisees. Think of the personal representative as the CEO of a business.
Who gets to be the Personal Representative?
Michigan’s probate code has a batting order for picking the Personal Representative. From first to last it starts with:
- The person named in the decedent’s Will as the executor
- The decedent’s surviving spouse if also receiving property in the Will
- Any person who is to inherit property
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- Any other heir
- Someone nominated by a creditor of the decedent
- A public administrator appointed by the court if there is no one else to do it
Do you have to serve as a Personal Representative?
Nope. You can decline and the person with the next highest priority will serve.
What if I don’t have priority?
You can serve as Personal Representative only if every single person with greater or equal priority agrees in writing. Please note, probate is driven by court approved court forms. I am not suggesting they can write a letter. It has to be on the right form and filed properly with the court.
Have more questions? Call us at 313-291-0240.
Chris McAvoy is a Michigan attorney who helps people with bankruptcy, family law, and estate planning. To find out more or set up an appointment, click here for contact info. Our attorneys help people in Taylor, Allen Park, Southgate, Lincoln Park, Riverview, Taylor, Trenton, Flat Rock, Wyandotte, Brownstown, Belleville, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Westland, Garden City, Canton and the Downriver, Michigan area.