Grand Rapids, MI asked in Probate for Michigan

Q: My mother passed away last week with no will. She was not married and I have 2 younger sisters. How do I become executor

My mother died last week and lived in an apartment above her married boyfriends garage. He claims she had previously given him authority over everything in the event of her death and that he couldn't find the paper. He has thus far managed to make all the arrangements, have her body moved to the funeral home etc. My sisters and I were not told about this by our mother and again, he hasn't produced documentation supporting his claims.

Please help

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1 Lawyer Answer
Trent Harris
Trent Harris
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Jackson, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: First, I'm sorry for your loss. You may or may not need to become executor of your mother's estate. In Michigan, the executor is called the personal representative of the estate. You may wish to seek appointment as personal representative of the estate if your mother had assets which cannot be transferred without going through the probate court. Otherwise, if your mother had no assets which require probate, you may not need to have a personal representative appointed.

Your mother's next of kin (i.e. you and your sisters) have the right to make post-death arrangements for your mother, unless she designated a funeral representative. It sounds like she did not. I would talk to the funeral home and see what they need in order to recognize you and your sisters as the ones who will decide what should happen as far as funeral and burial.

I recommend you make a consult with a local probate attorney to review all the relevant details of your situation. He or she can talk to you about whether there are assets your mother owned which require probate, and whether you actually need to have someone appointed as personal representative or not.

Kenneth V Zichi and David Soble agree with this answer

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