Estate administration in Michigan often takes months to complete. The personal representative managing the process will need to devote many hours of their time to court proceedings and the management of estate resources.
Most estate beneficiaries are happy to have someone else managing the probate process. Unfortunately, sometimes it becomes clear that the person tasked with estate administration cannot properly fulfill their responsibilities. Family members may begin to worry about the impact their failings or misconduct could have on their inheritances. The following are the most common reasons for family members to seek the removal of a representative from their role.
Not acting in the best interest of the estate
Not everyone has the organizational skills and follow-through necessary to manage an estate. When beneficiaries and family members can show that the personal representative of an estate has made mistakes or oversights with financial consequences, they can take the matter to court. Anytime the personal representative of an estate has harmed the estate through mistakes, oversights or incompetence, those expecting to inherit from the estate could ask the courts to intervene and remove them from their position.
Misrepresenting personal circumstances
If the beneficiaries of an estate can show that the personal representative intentionally misrepresented their circumstances in probate court to secure their position, that can lead to litigation. The courts can potentially remove a personal representative who lied about their residence, their schedule or their relationship with the testator to obtain their position. Particularly when someone has a conflict of interests or a history of mismanaging financial resources, a misrepresentation of material facts could justify their removal from their position.
Becoming unable to manage the estate
There are many reasons why someone serving as the representative of an estate can no longer do so. Perhaps they have health challenges that affect their cognition or ability to attend court. Maybe they recently got arrested and are now in state custody. If a personal representative is no longer capable of performing the responsibilities inherent in their role, beneficiaries of the estate can seek to remove them from their position. Someone who has refused to follow court orders or the instructions provided by the testator could also end up removed from their position as estate administrator.
Recognizing when Michigan law allows family members to remove a representative can potentially help people protect the inheritance someone left for them when something is going wrong. Seeking legal guidance promptly in this regard is generally wise.