734-359-7018
Now Accepting New Clients!
Blog

PROBATE 30: Trial court abused its discretion in appointing co-personal representatives.

P and S divorced in 2000. Their daughter died in January 2019 after her moped was struck by a snowplow. Both parents sought individual appointment as personal representative of the estate. P filed an initial petition to be appointed personal representative, but S filed an objection to this petition and requested that he be appointed personal representative or, alternatively, that the two parents be appointed co-personal representatives or a neutral third party be appointed.

The Estates and Protected Individuals Code (“EPIC”), MCL 700.1101 et seq., governs the administration of estates in Michigan. Under the code, interested persons may petition the trial court for a formal determination of the priority or qualification of a prospective personal representative.

Generally, personal representatives are appointed in the following order of priority:

(a) The person with priority as determined by a probated will including a person nominated by a power conferred in a will.

(b) The decedent’s surviving spouse if the spouse is a devisee of the decedent.

(c) Other devisees of the decedent.

(d) The decedent’s surviving spouse.

(e) Other heirs of the decedent. [MCL 700.3203(1).]

An abuse of discretion occurs when the trial court chooses an outcome outside the range of reasonable and principled outcomes.

The parties agree that, as heirs to their daughter’s estate, MCL 700.3203(1)(e), neither party held priority to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate. The trial court found, however, that each party was unsuited in their individual capacity to serve as personal representative because neither party could be trusted to reliably represent the interests of the other. The trial court attempted to remedy this problem by appointing the parties as co-personal representatives, meaning that they would have to agree on decisions affecting the estate.

Trial courts may, however, only appoint co-personal representatives if the intended parties agree to the shared status.

Here, neither party agreed to renounce their priority and at least P did not agree to serve in a shared capacity with Seville. Accordingly, the trial court was precluded from appointing P and S as co-personal representatives.

Accordingly, because no other person with priority stepped forward to seek appointment, the trial court was obligated to appoint a third person to serve as the personal representative of the estate.

Aldrich Legal Services represents clients in a wide range of probate litigation matters. Probate litigation is complex and requires the attention of experienced and knowledgeable counsel. Aldrich Legal Services attorneys have the experience and legal know-how to protect your rights and interests.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Basic responsibilities of an executor

Originally posted on 01/11/2017 The emotional toils of dealing with the death of a loved one can be considerably difficult. Nevertheless, perseverance is paramount; especially if you are appointed to be an executor to one’s...

What you need to compliment your will

Originally posted on 02/08/2017 Making end-of-life plans usually end with a will, but they shouldn't. Some believe that simply having a will is enough. However, this post will briefly explain how having other estate planning...

The benefits of home health care providers

Originally posted on 03/22/2017 As we get older or suffer an injury, we need a little extra help. Home health care providers or caregivers can provide the assistance needed to handle your or your loved one's health and safety...

What to know about bail conditions

Originally posted on 03/06/2017 If you have been arrested and are being held on the suspicion that you have committed a particular crime, chances are that the only thing you are thinking about is getting out of jail as soon as possible and...

College students and estate planning

Originally posted on 12/16/2016 With college semesters starting up in Michigan, it may not be so easy to get college students to think responsibly. This time can be especially tough with the need of moving back to school and getting...

Three reasons to put a power of attorney in place

Originally posted on 11/08/2016 While no one wants to think of the unfortunate possibility of being incapacitated or of a time when we can't handle our own affairs, this circumstance is a real possibility. If something happens and this...

How to approach parents about estate planning

Originally posted on 12/09/2016 Family forms a strong foundation for many people's first and most intimate community. It is important to strengthen these first relationships so even uncommon questions become natural. For those...

PROBATE 44: Petition for Mental Health Treatment

Michigan’s Mental Health Code governs the civil admission and discharge procedures for a person with a mental illness. Specifically, MCL 330.1434 sets forth the procedure and content requirements for a petition for mental health treatment.

Should you get your criminal record expunged?

Originally posted on 04/12/2017 If you have been convicted of a crime, have served your sentence, and have followed all court recommendations, you should be able to put your past behind you and move on with life. Moving forward is critical...

Choosing the right executor for an estate

Originally posted on 05/28/2017 When people are thinking about planning their estate, they often think about trying to minimize the estate tax, keeping their will updated, and keeping items out of probate court; however, there is another...

Understanding how the Miranda warning works

Originally posted on 11/25/2016 Michigan residents who have seen television police shows or movies involving law enforcement have no doubt watched many dramatic scenes with officers quoting something to the effect of, "You have the...

Don't let a bad decision, unfair contract, or a messy divorce get in the way of a promising future!
Contact the experienced team at Aldrich Legal Services today to schedule your free initial
consultation
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000
734-237-6482
734-366-4405