One of the most important reasons to make a will is to name your executor -- commonly called a “personal representative” in Michigan. After your death, your executor’s primary job is to protect your property until any debts and taxes have been paid, and then transfer what’s left to those who are entitled to it.
Every state has some rules about who may serve as the executor of an estate that goes through probate. Here are the requirements in Michigan.
Michigan statutes provide no specific requirements an executor must meet, and you are free to name any adult that you trust as your executor. The court must appoint that person unless someone else challenges your choice of executor and there is clear evidence that he or she is “incompetent or unsuitable” to serve. (See Mich. Comp. Laws § 700.3203; 191 Mich.App. 292.)
Choose someone who is honest and able to keep track of details in an organized way. Before you make your will, be sure your choice is willing to accept the job.
Unlike many other states, Michigan does not impose special requirements on executors who live out of state. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to appoint someone who lives far away. For practical reasons, it’s usually best to name an executor who lives near you. Your executor may have to handle day-to-day matters for weeks, months, or sometimes longer.
If you want to know more about an executor’s duties and responsibilities in Michigan, the State Bar of Michigan offers a pamphlet describing the probate process.
For more information about choosing your executor and making your will, see the Wills section of Nolo.com.