A weird rule exists relative to who has the right to make a funeral arrangement in Michigan.  You would think that the person named with that power in a Will would have priority.  Nope.  In fact, you could have a terrible relationship with your family and they could still trump those persons that you want to handle it.

In most estate plans that include a Will, there is a specific instruction contained within the Will that allows for the nomination of the person to handle the funeral and burial arrangement.  Those instructions do not take priority over the funeral arrangement statute. Michigan’s probate code MCL 700.3206 sets forth the order for the funeral arrangements.

The person with the highest priority is the surviving spouse.  Then, the next in line are those family members that would be heirs under Michigan’s intestacy statute.

If there is no family member, guardian or nominated personal representative available or willing to make decisions regarding the handling, disposition, or disinterment of a decedent’s body, the court may appoint:

  1. A special personal representative (usually an attorney appointed by the probate court);
  2. The county public administrator, if willing to serve; or
  3. The medical examiner of the county where the decedent was domiciled at the time of death.