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Michigan- I'm contesting my father's will/trust. We are at the point of mediation. Can the personal representative of the

Dearborn, MI |

estate be the neutral mediator? If not what law states that?

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Attorney answers 4


Several questions need to be answered before your question can be answered:

a) has the will been admitted to probate and the personal representative appointed?
b) if so, has the appeal period run?
c) are you contesting a portion of the will or the whole will/trust?

If the will has not been admitted to probate, then a neutral third party (not the personal representtive) should oversee any mediation. if the will has been admitted to probate, then the personal representative may be the only person who can help you and another beneficiary work out any problem with a distribution. In any event, you really need your own attorney to advise you in this matter. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.


I would think that the mediator should be totally independent in a lawsuit.
The beneficiaries and PR could have worked out a "deal" if it were possible without
a lawsuit.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


Sounds like you are headed toward mediation with three mediators. If you don't have a lawyer, I recommend that you get one. If you do, listen to your lawyer.
You have not provided enough information to allow someone to evaluate whether using the PR as the neutral is a good idea. You have also not provided information concerning the parameters governing the mediation.

I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia and regularly handle cases of this sort. You should not rely on this answer. You should consult a lawyer so you can tell the lawyer the entire situation and get legal advice that is precisely tailored to your case.


I agree with my colleagues, but I believe there may be more going on here than meets the eye. The PR is not disinterested, and the PR cannot decide if the Will/Trust is valid or not. Only a court can decide that. If the judge has ordered this to mediation, both sides really should have an attorney to effectively present their best arguments.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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