Maybe your loved one who recently died named a specific family member to manage their estate. Perhaps the probate courts appointed one of your siblings to serve as the personal representative of the estate.
Whether the decedent chose the representative or not, that person will have a big responsibility. Their actions will either uphold someone’s legacy or diminish and undermine what they intended for others. Although typically those who accept the role of the personal representative of an estate have the skills and the free time necessary to fulfill their obligations, that is not always the case.
When might you be able to take action to remove a representative who doesn’t properly handle an estate?
When they don’t fulfill their basic obligations
Some people have good intentions but struggle to follow through on them. If the person who assumed the role of executor has gone weeks without notifying the Michigan probate courts of the situation or securing assets to preserve their value, their inaction could harm all the beneficiaries of the estate.
When someone has not taken the basic steps necessary to properly administer an estate, you may eventually need to challenge them and replace them with someone who has the time and motivation to do the necessary work.
When they make massive mistakes
Unfortunately, not every personal representative will have the skills, organizational ability or education necessary to properly manage estate assets. Financial accounts, real estate and even businesses could lose thousands of dollars in value to mismanagement by an estate’s representative.
When they put their own preferences ahead of the estate plan
Personal representatives have an obligation to fulfill someone’s plan according to the instructions they left behind and also Michigan state law.
Their personal attachment to certain assets in the estate or their relationship with certain beneficiaries should not influence how they handle probate proceedings and asset distribution. If someone plays favorites or acts in a way that violates either probate laws or the terms set in the estate plan, the beneficiaries of the estate may have grounds to challenge them.
When someone breaches their fiduciary duty to the estate or lets personal bias influence how they fulfill their role, they may not be the right person to handle the state administration. Initiating probate litigation can protect your interest in an estate when the representative of the estate acts questionably.