3701 fixes untimely complaint

By Doug Chalgian on June 20, 2024

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Connie applied for appointment as personal representative of her deceased husband’s estate.  While her application was pending, she filed a wrongful death complaint in her capacity as “anticipated personal representative.”

A few weeks later, letters of authority were issued to Connie.

In the time between the date the complaint was filed and the time the letters were issued, the statute of limitations for this wrongful death action lapsed.

Because the law says only a PR can file the complaint for a wrongful death actions, and because the letters were not issued to Connie until after the statute of limitations had run, the defendant claimed that the suit was untimely and should be dismissed.

And yet, as everyone who practices estate administration knows, MCL 700.3701 says that someone who expects to be appointed PR can do things to preserve the assets of the estate prior to their appointment, and that those acts are given the imprimatur of the office notwithstanding the fact that they occurred before the letters were issued.

Although the trial court failed to apply section 3701 (and granted summary judgment to the defendant), the COA understood it’s import and, accordingly, reversed the trial court, thereby reinstating the wrongful death action.

Estate of Eversole v Orion Family Physicians is published.  Click on the name to read the case.

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mm By: Doug Chalgian
Doug Chalgian

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