Whether a party may assert standing as a successor co-personal representative (PR); MCL 700.3301; MCL 700.3502; “Interested person”; MCL 700.1105(c); Reconsideration
Holding that the probate court did not err by denying appellant-bank’s motion for reconsideration of the order denying its motion to act as co-PR of the decedent’s estate, the court affirmed the ruling. However, it vacated the probate court’s order granting appellee-PR’s motion to dismiss appellant’s trust petition, and remanded. Following the death of the decedent, appellee filed a petition seeking probate of the estate and to be appointed the sole PR. She claimed the decedent’s original will could not be located, and thus, it should be presumed he intended to revoke it. Soon after, appellant filed a petition seeking to probate the will and be appointed co-PR of his estate. It claimed it had located the will shortly after the decedent’s death and promptly submitted it to the probate court. The probate court entered an order appointing appellee as sole PR. Appellant later filed a petition for limited trust supervision requesting recognition as co-trustee. The probate court found the parties stipulated that its ruling from the case denying its request to serve as co-PR would be adopted in the trust proceeding and preclude it from serving as co-trustee. On appeal, the court rejected appellant’s argument that the probate court erred by failing to make findings concerning whether the decedent died intestate, noting although it “never explicitly articulated that the decedent died testate and that a valid will existed, [its] findings and order clearly implied as much.” The court also rejected appellant’s claim that the probate court erred by failing to probate the will, finding it lacked standing to raise this argument. However, the court agreed with appellant that the probate court erroneously premised its decision to dismiss the trust petition on a mistaken belief that the parties had stipulated that its decision in the estate matter would bind the parties in the trust matter. And because the probate court’s order was premised on an erroneous finding, it remanded for determination of whether appellant was entitled to serve as co-trustee.
Full Text Opinion
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012