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Questions Answered by Trent Harris
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My nephew died Intestate. His wife filed for informal probate & lied many times on the application. What can be done?

They never shared a marital home he lived with my mother the entire time. She chose to live with her ex-husband and their two youngest children. Unfortunately, my nephew died in the hospital not because of the treatment the doctors were giving him, but because of his lifestyle the treatments... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Nov 21, 2022

Certain people have the right to participate in probate court proceedings for a decedent estate. These people are called "interested persons" as defined by Michigan law. For example, a deceased person's spouse is an interested person. If the deceased person had any surviving... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Michigan on
Q: Will my brother and I be responsible for payments to estate lawyer who only works for older sibling now?

Father passed away and us 3 siblings had an estate lawyer and were dealing with things. Older sibling got nasty and greedy and was able to take our original estate lawyer and come at us. We now have our own lawyer to represent our interests, but we are worried that the older sibling is abusing time... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Oct 12, 2022

First, you have your own lawyer - why not ask him or her this question?

Second, your personal liability to the attorney for attorney fees is a matter of contract. It depends on whether you and the brother signed a retainer agreement with the attorney agreeing to pay the attorney's...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My father-in-law recently passed away there was no will If one child’s name was put on as beneficiary to the bank accoun

Does that legally mean it’s just her money or would that money have to go into an estate and be split

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Oct 6, 2022

Bank accounts that have a payable on death beneficiary designation on them pass outside of probate. That means if your father-in-law named someone as a beneficiary to his bank account, the money belongs to that person, and that person alone, upon your father-in-law's death. That person (she?)... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: How can I get proof my brother and sister have poa and are trustees for her trust for my mother.

I have asked to see them but they have refused to show the documents to me

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Sep 30, 2022

Your brother and sister have no obligation to share your mother's power of attorney or your mother's trust with you in a strict legal sense. If your mother is living, then it is likely the trust is revocable and she is the only present beneficiary of the trust, and no one else is entitled... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Is a Notice to Creditors required for a person who dies who has ONLY a Trust and no will on file at probate court?

My mother is 97yo. She has no property that she owns and no car. She is in hospice and close to death. Her assets include only 3 POD CDs, a checking account (current values < $50,000 for monthly recurring bills; one credit card with a balance of < $100; a Savings account of just over $1,000;... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Sep 22, 2022

Respectfully, I disagree with my colleague's answer above. The trustee of a trust has a duty to publish notice to creditors after death of the grantor. See MCL 700.7608.

700.7608 Duty of trustee to give notice.

Sec. 7608.

If there is no personal representative of the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My father passed in 2021 and I'm executor of estate. My sister wants copy of his taxes, do I have to give copy to her?

The estate has been completed and payments given to everyone. His original taxes for 2022 have been filed and are kept with the rest of his records in a safe. Do I legally have to give her a copy?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Sep 7, 2022

Most likely yes. You have a duty to act in the best interests of the estate and heirs and devisees. You also have a duty to provide reasonable information about the estate and estate property to the heirs and devisees of the estate, especially information pertaining to the financial condition of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on
Q: quMom deceased recently. Mom is married, no will. Her domicile is in Texas, also has a non homestead in MI. Mom and

daughter are on warranty deed in MI. No mention of survivorship on warranty deed. Does Mom's portion need probate still? Mom's spouse willing to sign Quit Claim deed to daughter on the said deed. If probate needed, can you file in TX & MI, can spouse still sign Quit Claim to... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Aug 31, 2022

Based on the information given in your question, it sounds as if the deed to mom and daughter conveyed the property to them as tenants in common. If this is the case, then some type of Michigan probate procedure will need to be used to transfer mom's interest. Your best bet is to contact a... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: When my mother passed away the deed to the house was in her name and my brothers name was on it in survivorship only,

My brother has recently passed away he never put the deed in his name so is it part of his estate or would it be my mother's estate?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Aug 1, 2022

It's unclear from the question whether your brother was a remainderman on a lady bird deed (he only became owner when your mother passed) or whether your brother was a joint tenant with your mother, who had right of survivorship. Either way, if your brother survived your mother, the house... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Is an estate lawyer required to provide a copy of a Will to a person named in the Will?

The law office that took care of my father’s will will not provide a copy of any of the children listed. He said I needed to contact the lawyer of the co-representative of the estate that had nothing to do with drawing it up

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Jul 27, 2022

The directions given to you by the drafting attorney are correct. When an attorney drafts estate plan documents for a client, the attorney owes the client the duty of confidentiality, even after death. After a client's death, the only person who can waive confidentiality for the client is the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Is a seller liable after closing for misstatements made on disclosure statement.

After closing on my home, but before moving in, my neighbor had his property surveyed. Among other things, there is a semi permanent structure built by the sellers husband, who is deceased, that the survey shows is encroaching on his property. On the Disclosure Statement, the seller stated there... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Jun 24, 2022

The answer to this question is: maybe. There are two different issues. The first is the encroachment onto the neighbor's property. The second is the basement work done without proper permits.

As to the first (encroachment issue), the seller would not be liable to you for that unless...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: I know cars & house must be appraised. How do you calculate the other inventory items? See below

Furniture, linens, utensils, flatware, dishes and clothing. Do we just guess what the value could be? The clothing would be donated because none of the heirs can wear the clothing or want them. Is there some type of calculation formula? These items really don't have a monetary value. As far... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Jun 3, 2022

There are a number of places where you can get inventory values for the things you need.

For valuation of real estate, an appraisal is acceptable but may not be required. Local practice may vary, and other sources of valuation for real estate may also be accepted, such as a Comparative...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Can my husband's sister contest a wife's rights to everything? Do I still need a will?
Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on May 20, 2022

By "a wife's rights to everything", I'm assuming you mean the surviving spouse's right to a share of an intestate estate. Generally speaking, if the husband dies leaving a probate estate and leaves a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse is entitled to the first $240,000... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for South Carolina on
Q: Man dies in MI. owns land worth $4,000 in SC does land auto go to spouse or has to file probate. His estate under $20k

A man passed in Michigan where he and his wife were living at that time. He and his wife own land in SC worth $4,000. Does the land automatically go to her without filing probate in MI? His entire estate was less than $20,000.

The wife is trying to sell the land in SC but this issue arose... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on May 16, 2022

This is a question that depends on South Carolina law. A Michigan probate court does not have jurisdiction to decide matters regarding real estate located outside the State of Michigan. Other states could have a statute though that allows South Carolina to recognize ancillary probate proceedings... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: Is it illegal for a real estate agent to digitally remove A Property Surveyors Property Markers from a Real Estate Listi

Our property is shown in the Real Estate For Sale Listing of our neighbors. However our Property Survey Markers have been digitally removed as well as No Trespassing signs?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on May 4, 2022

No, that is not illegal.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Closed on a home. Seller asked for two days to remove items. They have moved out . They have not. Can we change locks?

They moved to Florida months ago and left some furniture behind. We closed gave them 2 days per the closing agreement and they are still dragging feet on removing the items. Can we take possession of the house and allow them to come and get their stuff later.

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Apr 27, 2022

It sounds like you should be able to take possession and change the locks, but to be sure you should take your documents to a real estate attorney for review. In situations like these I usually tell people they can put the items in storage and give the former homeowner notice that they can come get... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Can an Executive Director of an assisted living facility refer their resident to an attorney to have a POA and Will made

The facility is located in the state of michigan and the new resident had no POA or a will that would have specific directives.

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Apr 25, 2022

Yes, there is nothing illegal about that, however employees of the assisted living facility should not serve as witnesses to the signatures on the patient advocate designation.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Can my partner evict me from our home that we both share our names on mortgage or force me to sell the house?

My girlfriend wants her name off the mortgage that we both share. She wants me to refinance and pay her half of equity that's in the house. If I can't afford to pay her half of equity can she force me to sell the home? I have already been approved to take over the mortgage loan by myself.... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Apr 24, 2022

She can't evict you, but depending on how you guys hold title, whether as joint tenants or as tenants in common, she might be able to file a partition lawsuit against you to have the house sold and the proceeds split between the two of you.

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Small Claims for Michigan on
Q: Hi, what evidence do you need to prove a contract in small claims court? Will texts and emails be sufficient? Thx

I recently bought a condo and the seller agreed to share some repair costs with me. It was supposed to be done before we closed, which is why we don’t have anything signed but she got really sick at the end and didn’t get it taken care of fully. Only 2 things fixed vs 4 on the list. I tried to... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Apr 20, 2022

Enough? Anything's possible I guess. The fact that your evidence is mostly emails and texts doesn't dictate whether you have a winning case or not. There are ways to get those into evidence, so the trier of fact can weigh it. But keep in mind evidence is not proof.

Think if it...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: I have a private road easement on my land. New owners bought the land behind and are widening and cutting trees and want

To gavel the road. They are tearing up my yard with machinery and parking it on my land. I live in Michigan and on my deed it says my land abuts up to a private road but it runs through my land not on the edge. And in Michigan it needs to be 33 feet wide with a turn around big enough for a fire... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Apr 14, 2022

The permissible use of an easement is based on the language of the easement grant. Uses of an easement that unreasonably exceed the grant of easement can be enjoined in court. You will need to set up a consult with a real estate attorney in your area so the attorney can review the documents... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Unmarried gay daughter’s partner, together 10 yrs, entitled to any inheritance
Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Apr 2, 2022

No, not unless it was left to the partner in a will, trust, beneficiary designation, or ladybird deed for example.

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