Changes to Michigan’s Probate Law Soon Will Become Effective
April 27th, 2018
The Michigan legislature recently enacted Public Law 13 and Public Law 14, which provide for significant reforms for public administrators handling probate estates. The Attorney General’s office appoints county public administrators to handle estate when no heirs can be located. These laws, which become effective 90 days after the date that they were signed into law, resulted from a media investigation alleging that public administrators were taking as much as 33% of the total value of a probate estate, as well real estate commissions and other charges. As a result of this investigation, some county public administrators resigned and/or were relieved of their duties. The new laws update existing public administrator laws and help curb the potential for probate abuse.
Under the new legislation, a county public administrator cannot be appointed to represent a probate estate for 63 days following the decedent’s death, absent exigent circumstances. This is an increase from the previous 42-day period under the old law. The laws also establish a formal framework for appointing a public administrator and requires that public administrators handling estates subject to mortgage or tax foreclosure actions follow certain procedures for searching for and notifying heirs of the proceedings. Public administrators who fail to follow these procedures are guilty of a misdemeanor under Michigan law, punishable by a jail sentence of up to 90 days and/or a $1,000 fine. Additionally, public administrators must follow certain procedures with respect to notifying the treasurer about the estate and any delinquent property taxes, notifying the probate court about the sale of any real estate, and notifying heirs who are occupying real estate that is to be sold.
The probate and administration attorneys of Legacy Law Center pride themselves on successfully guiding clients through the process of probate administration and wrapping up the affairs of their loved ones. We have the knowledge and resources to help you make the decisions that are best for you and your family. Don’t hesitate to call our Ann Arbor office today and learn how we can assist you.