Dear Person Who Named it a Letter of Authority:

Most letters begin with “Dear”.  However, there is no “Dear” at the beginning of a Letter of Authority.  Why is it called a Letter of Authority instead of just a plain ole Order of Authority?  That answer will never make sense to The Probate Pro.  All other orders are simply referred to as orders.

Rather than questioning things that don’t make sense, The Probate Pro will make sense of what is a Letter of Authority.  A Letter of Authority refers to the document (or Letter) that grants the personal representative authority to act on behalf of the estate of the person that died.

Probate refers to the court procedure by which a decedent’s estate gets administered after death. The Letter is issued following the commencement of probate estate and the appointment of a personal representative.  A sample Letter of Authority can be found here. Here is a video explaining how to file for one.

The Letters states the name of the decedent, the probate court name, the name and address of the personal representative, and the limitations of any of the personal representative’s powers. The Letter has a seal embossed by the probate court to indicate its authenticity.

The Letters will be issued by the probate court or register once the Personal Representative qualifies by filing an Acceptance of Appointment and a bond if bond is required. Michigan Court Rule  5.202(A) provides that Letters shall be issued after appointment and qualification of a fiduciary and unless ordered by the court, it will not have an expiration date. Michigan Court Rule 5.202(B) states that the probate court may restrict the powers of a Personal Representative conspicuously on the Letters. The probate court may modify or remove the restrictions on the Letters with or without a hearing.

The probate court charges a fee of $12 for each sealed Letter.  It can be presented at banks, financial institutions, title companies, law enforcement, and at any place in which the personal representative may be required to show proof of their legal authority.


The Probate Pro, PLC