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PROBATE 29: Denied petition for PR removal because decedent’s brother was not the real party in interest.

In this case, after the decedent passed away, his wife applied for informal probate and appointment of personal representative, listing herself as the decedent’s surviving spouse and sole heir, and nominating herself as personal representative of the estate. She failed to identify the decedent’s mother as a surviving parent or any of the decedent’s surviving siblings. The probate court approved the application.

The decedent’s brother challenged the wife’s rights to serve as personal representative and inherit the estate. The petition listed the decedent’s mother as the decedent’s heir. At a hearing on this petition, the brother’s counsel asserted that the decedent and his wife were never legally married.

A subsequent review by the Wayne County Clerk failed to locate a marriage license. Without ruling on the validity of the marriage, the probate court dismissed the brother’s petition on the grounds that he was not the real party in interest and that he lacked standing to bring the petition.

An interested person may petition for removal of a personal representative for cause at any time. As the decedent’s surviving parent, the decedent’s mother qualified as an interested person who had a claim against the intestate estate of the decedent, MCL 700.2103(b), and she was therefore eligible to petition for the removal of the wife as personal representative of the decedent’s estate, MCL 700.3611(1).

If you have lost a loved one, the last thing you should have to deal with at this time is the confusing and often frustrating process of probate. Let an experienced probate lawyer from Aldrich Legal Services focus on your legal needs.

We offer comprehensive guidance throughout the probate process, including the filing of petitions, notices to creditors, distribution of assets to beneficiaries and other services required throughout the probate process. We offer probate services for clients whose loved ones died with or without a will. If disputes arise, we also have experience with litigating probate matters.

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