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Randi Merchant Appointed as Michigan’s Public Administrator
May 19, 2023
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today that Governor Gretchen Whitmer has appointed current Assistant Attorney General Randi Merchant as Michigan’s Public Administrator. Merchant is a 12-year veteran in the Department of Attorney General, and currently serves in the Revenue and Tax Division.
The State Public Administrator has oversight over the appointed county public administrators' activities that effectuate disposition of the decedent's body and manage the determination, collection, liquidation, and/or distribution of any assets in a decedent's estate. Attorneys acting as county public administrators have powers and duties primarily related to intestate decedent estates where there are apparently no known heirs. The appointment of Merchant is part of the attorney general’s continued efforts to expand oversight of the probate of estates, as well as guardianship and conservatorship proceedings in order to further benefit Michigan residents. This position is pivotal in ensuring equity and fairness throughout the processes. This will incorporate collaborations with all stakeholders. The Attorney General is confident that the continued oversight will ensure checks and balances that will ensure protections for our citizens.
Merchant, a Michigan native, received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and graduated cum laude from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. She began her professional career as a research attorney with the Michigan Court of Appeals, before joining the Department of Attorney General in November 2011.
“We recognize the great importance of the Public Administrator and, as such, are elevating the position in the office to allow for a more active role in oversight and to allow our Public Administrator to work collaboratively with the county Public Administrators across the state,” Nessel said. “Randi brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and experience to this role, which makes her a perfect fit to achieve these goals.”
Merchant has litigated at both the trial court and appellate levels and has secured several favorable published opinions, as well as negotiated multi-million-dollar settlements on behalf of Treasury. She has also participated in multi-agency work groups, led litigation training sessions, and served as a liaison for other Department of Attorney General divisions.
Merchant is a Michigan native who spent 15 years traveling as a military dependent. She has been a full-time Michigan resident for more than twenty years and is looking forward to continuing her career in public service in this new role.
“I’m excited and honored for the opportunity to represent the Department and Attorney General Nessel in the Public Administrator position,” said Merchant. “I am eager to establish relationships with the County Administrators across the state and provide the support necessary to ensure the effective and efficient administration of the probate matters that fall within the purview of this office.”