After opening a probate estate, a Personal Representative has a duty to provide legal notice to any creditors of the decedent. Creditors of the estate may include unsecured debt and secured debt. Often in Wrongful Death actions, wrongful death creditors (including those attempting to perfect court ordered case evaluation sanctions as a wrongful death creditor), will file a Proof of Claim alleging a debt. Michigan’s statute that governs the presentation of creditor claims including wrongful death creditors is MCL 700.3804.

Michigan’s Wrongful Death Act (MCL §600.2922) limits most creditors from claiming any of the wrongful death proceeds and limits the personal representative’s right to distribute only to a defined class of creditors. These creditors are limited to reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses of the decedent for which the estate is responsible. The proceeds shall not be applied to the payment of any other charges against the estate of the decedent.

Wrongful Death CreditorThe wrongful death creditor rules are quite different from the rules set forth for creditors under the Estates and Protected Individual Code (EPIC).  That one reason that the determination as to distribution of the proceeds through the wrongful death act or into the probate estate can have very different results. The process can be complicated and is often not done correctly by practitioners.

The Probate Pro can assist in addressing situations involving wrongful death creditors and the application of Michigan’s Wrongful Death Act.