Can a person without any assets or income name an administrator without having a Will?

UPDATED: Apr 27, 2011

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Can a person without any assets or income name an administrator without having a Will?

The person in question has no Will and does not want to get one but does want to name a person to pay any remaining bills upon death. This person is living in poverty without any real possessions. Can you accomplish naming an administrator using a developed document? Would this notarized have legal standing?

Asked on April 27, 2011 under Estate Planning, Michigan


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

An Administrator is, by the nature of the appointment, a fiduciary that is appointed by the court on application when no Will exists.  If a person wants to name a party that will handle their affairs after they pass away then they should prepare a Will.  But I do understand the situation and that having a Will prepared could be costly when there are really no assets here.  If the person is as impoverished as you state could they possibly qualify for legal aid or legal services or other services say from agencies that help the elderly, etc.?  Maybe they can help prepare a simple Will at little or no cost.  Otherwise, the document can be prepared as you state but it may not be given any legal weight if someone objects and challenges it calling it a Will that was improperly prepared or executed.  Or maybe a Judge will give it some weight without calling it a Will.  But it may appear as such depending on how it is worded.  The person that the party wants to be the Administrator can petition the court to be appointed and as long as there is no objection will be appointed.  Then they will have the obligation to pay off the debts, etc. anyway.  Good luck.

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