How long can a personal representative wait to probate an estate?

UPDATED: Sep 27, 2014

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How long can a personal representative wait to probate an estate?

I work in politics and for the next month around 75 hours a week. My father passed away and I was named personal representative by probate. Can I just push all of that until after the election or can I deal with probate and my job? I don’t know the time needed for the average probate during the beginning but I don’t want to push myself beyond my limit.

Asked on September 27, 2014 under Estate Planning, Michigan


Gregory Abbott / Consumer Law Northwest

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Actually, the most your father could do was nominate you to be his Personal Representative - you are not, and have no legal authority or obligations as, a personal representative unless and until a probate action is filed in court and the court officially appoints you to be the P.R.  So you have no obligation to ever file a probate if you do not wish to and certainly no obligation to do so before the election is over.  Indeed, if you do so, the probate normally triggers a variety tasks  you must accomplish within a court mandated timeline, some within 30 and 60 days, so you may well want to wait.  Do understand though that anyone can file a probate and seek to be appointed P.R. (though the court should give you priority in being P.R.), so until you do so, someone else could step in and do it in front of you, at least in theory. 

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