FAQ’s – What Are Letters of Authority?

FAQs - Letter of Authority

Wednesday January 20, 2021

 
What are Letters of Authority (LOA)?  A Document filed within the probate of an estate that appoints  a personal representative to act as a fiduciary of the estate, including the right to sell property, unless the LOA includes restrictions against certain actions.  LOAs should be recorded with the Register of Deeds.
How long are Letters of Authority good for?  For 1 year after the estate has been closed, if the letters do not contain an expiration date.
Do the Letters of Authority authorize a personal representative to convey real estate to him or himself? NO.  A Deed from a PR to himself makes the property unmarketable unless there is a court order authorizing the transaction, or the decedent’s will specifically calls for the property to go to the personal representative.  The will in question must be a certified copy that has been admitted to probate.
What if there is a deed in the chain of title from the personal representative to him or herself and there is no court order authorizing the transaction.  It will be up to the issuing underwriter of the title policy to make a determination  if the chain will be acceptable.  Many factors are reviewed such as age of the deed and if there is a current Owner’s Title policy in place.
Can I accept Letters of Authority from another state?  If there is a probate opened in another state where the decedent was a resident AND there is no probate opened in Michigan AND the foreign PR has filed an authenticated copy of their appointment with the Michigan probate court in the county where the property is located, then the foreign PR may exercise authority over assets located in Michigan.  The foreign letters of authority should be reviewed for any restrictions they may contain, and they should be recorded with the Register of Deeds, along with the acknowledgement by the local Probate Court, if such acknowledgement is issued.


 

 

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