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The estate's personal representative is appointed by the court to be responsible for the decedent's property as a fiduciary, meaning that the personal representative can be held personally liable if the decedent's property isn't administered or distributed properly.
The personal representative can be appointed on the basis of being named in the will to take that roll; or by one of the decedent's relatives or close friends asking the court to open the estate; or through agreement of all interested persons in the estate.
With approval from the court, the personal representative can be compensated reasonable fees for his or her time and effort expended in administering the estate. The personal representative can also reimbursed for personal expenses made during the case, such as mileage and out of pocket expenses. Most individuals appointed to be the personal representative are receiving a portion of the estate in the disbursements. As such, in practice, I've found it rare where the personal representative wants to be compensated more than what he or she will receive in the estate. Most people want the estate to be closed expeditiously. Requesting compensation increases the risk that another interested person will object to closing the estate. But that doesn't mean that compensation and personal expenses can't be requested and granted.
LaBre Law Office
68897 S. Cass St., P.O. Box 550
Edwardsburg, MI 49112
Ph: (269) 663-8554
Fx: (269) 663-7701