Wrongful Death Case And Probate
Losing a loved one to someone else’s negligence can make the loss especially difficult. In such circumstances, you may consider bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. You should seek legal guidance regarding how to combine the wrongful death action with the probate of your loved one’s estate.
At Bieber & Czechowski, both of our partners have over 40 years of legal experience. We represent clients in Warren and throughout the state with estate and probate matters. We can remove the burden of the legal aspects of your case, so you can concentrate on your family and friends.
Michigan Laws Govern Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A cause of action for a wrongful death in Michigan is governed by Michigan statutes, specifically MCL 600.2922. This is commonly known as the Wrongful Death Act. Under this act, certain elements of the lawsuit must be approved by the probate court judge, including a settlement.
An estate must be opened by petition obtaining letters of authority for a decedent’s estate, and when necessary, a conservatorship established for a minor if he or she will be claiming a loss as a result of the wrongful death.
To obtain court approval of a settlement, the personal representative must file a petition incorporating the requirements of the wrongful death statute. This includes:
- A list of people who may be entitled to compensation
- Alleging medical and burial expenses have been will be paid
- Determining if compensation is being made for pain and suffering before the decedent died (this portion will pass to the estate)
- Determining whether compensation is being made for loss of society and companionship
- Determining the breakdown of all expenses, distributions and attorney fees
Wrongful death settlements may be confidential if requested, per Michigan court rule. The determination of the confidentiality is at the discretion of the probate judge.