How Do You Become an Executor of an Estate in Michigan When One Was Not Appointed?

By Andrine Redsteer

Generally, will makers, or "testators," name an executor in a last will and testament. However, when an individual dies without a will -- referred to as dying intestate -- a probate court appoints an executor or personal representative. In Michigan, as in other states, a deceased person's family members or friends may request appointment by a probate court. Typically, a request for appointment as personal representative must be filed with the probate court in the county where the decedent lived.

Informal Probate

Michigan probate courts allow for informal probate proceedings upon request. Informal probate proceedings typically involve little oversight by the probate court. Moreover, informal probate proceedings may not require any court hearings; the court's role may be limited to reviewing and accepting paperwork. In Michigan, an individual who is interested in being appointed as personal representative for informal probate may file an application for appointment with the probate court in the county where the decedent lived.

Formal Probate

A decedent typically names an executor in his will. However, if no executor was named in the will or the validity of the will is in question, formal probate proceedings may be required. Formal probate proceedings generally involve more oversight than informal probate proceedings and may be necessary if the decedent's will leaves any doubt as to who the executor should be. A petition for formal probate and appointment of a personal representative may be filed with the probate court in the county where the decedent lived.

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Notice

Michigan probate courts require a prospective personal representative to notify anyone who may be of "equal or higher priority" in the application for appointment. For example, if the decedent has family members, an applicant who is not related to the decedent must notify them of her application for appointment. If the decedent's family members do not object, the probate court may grant the application. However, if the decedent's family members do object, the probate court may deny the application.

Additional Requirements

Michigan probate courts require a filing fee and a death certificate or other proof of the decedent's death. An individual who seeks appointment as personal representative may need to gather other information for the application or petition, such as the names and addresses of the decedent's heirs. If an applicant is aware of individuals who are of equal or higher priority, he may list them on the application.

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How to Be the Executor of a Deceased Estate
 

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Probate is a court-supervised process that transfers legal title of property from the estate of the deceased, known as the decedent, to his beneficiaries and heirs. In California, the Superior Court in the county where the decedent lived when he died handles the probate process. Typically, when a person makes a will, he names an executor, also known as a personal representative, to oversee the administration of the estate according to his wishes. An executor has numerous responsibilities. If you are named as an executor in California or in any other state, you have the option of declining the appointment, or resigning at a later date if you accept the appointment.

How Is an Executor of an Estate Determined in the State of Virginia?

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Historically, probate described the process of proving that the requirements of creating a will were satisfied. In modern practice, however, the term is commonly used to describe the entire court process of administering a deceased person’s estate. Probate in California is often required whether a person died with or without a will. When probating a will, a number of notices are required to “interested persons.” The notices give such individuals the opportunity to state any claims they may have to the decedent's property before the assets are ultimately distributed under the instructions of the will.

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