June 19, 2020
LANSING – Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced the appointments of Timothy Waalkes as the Kent County public administrator and Barbara BakerOmerod as the Shiawassee County public administrator.
Swearing-in ceremonies for the county public administrators (CPAs) were conducted electronically. Waalkes was sworn in Thursday, and BakerOmerod was sworn in Tuesday.
Waalkes, of Grand Rapids, is a graduate of Calvin College and Wayne State University Law School. After working at medical-malpractice law firms in the Lansing area, he joined the Verspoor, Waalkes, Lalley, Slotsema & Talen PC firm based in Grand Rapids in 2004. Waalkes practices in the areas of estate planning, probate administration, trust administration, probate litigation, business law and general civil litigation. He is also an active participant in the Legal Aid Program of Western Michigan.
BakerOmerod, of Owosso, is a graduate of Michigan State University and Cooley Law School and served as in-house counsel for a nonprofit for several years. She has been in private practice since 1995, opening her Owosso office in 2001. BakerOmerod’s practice focuses primarily on probate and estate planning, family law and bankruptcy. She is a member of many service organizations and president of the Village of Lennon.
"Mr. Waalkes and Ms. BakerOmerod each bring tremendous integrity and experience to a position that requires the greatest regard of trust and care," said Nessel. “They both have a strong commitment to their communities and residents of Michigan will be well represented by their public administrator service.”
Waalkes and BakerOmerod are Nessel’s first CPA appointments as Attorney General.
CPAs have oversight responsibilities in deceased estate probate matters where there are no heirs or unknown heirs and no will. State law defines who is considered an heir. If a person dies and has no living relatives and leaves no will, then the CPA is appointed by the county probate judge to be the personal representative of the estate. The CPA ensures all bills are paid and the remaining estate assets are sent to the state treasurer on behalf of the people of the State of Michigan.
CPAs have primary private practice responsibilities outside of their appointment and their limited responsibility as a public administrator is outlined above.
The Attorney General’s website maintains a County Public Administrators contact list.
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