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Questions Answered by Trent Harris

3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Michigan on

Q: My son has many bills. He owes the county Jail here $1250 for a recent stay. Would bankruptcy erased by it.

Trent Harris answered on Aug 21, 2019

Fines, penalties, and costs that were ordered as part of his criminal sentence would not be dischargeable. However, if this cost is to reimburse the jail for his lodging and food costs while he was there, that could be dischargeable, because it's like rent and an ordinary contract claim. You... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on

Q: A non-attorney in my neighborhood has been advertising her services to draft estate documents

She's offering what I believe to be legal advice. I specifically asked her if she was a lawyer and she said no, and is offering what I believe to be legal advice. Should she be drafting estate documents as a non-lawyer? In her exact words she "has been producing wills, powers of attorney,... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Aug 14, 2019

While merely offering fill-in do-it-yourself forms might not be the practice of law in Michigan, if someone who is a non-attorney fills them out for someone else, or tells a person how to fill them in, that would be the unauthorized practice of law. What you are describing sounds like the latter.... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: My great uncle passed away with no will. His house and account will be split among his surviving nieces and nephews.

What's the split in Michigan if 3 of the nieces and nephews are deceased with surviving children

Trent Harris answered on Aug 7, 2019

"The split" going to each heir depends on how many nieces and nephews there were total, and how many living nieces and nephews there were at your great uncle's death. It also depends on how many living children of nieces and nephews were alive at your great uncle's death. The rules that apply are... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Michigan on

Q: Bought service for $3200 that ended up being a total deception from what the salesman said it'd be. What can I do?

They're located in Renton Washington.

Mike Winters CEO & sales

They use very deceptive techniques to capture people's money. They do nothing it sounded like they were going to do and used deception to lead you to believe you're going to make a LOT of money, quickly too. Neither... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Jul 31, 2019

Get rich quick schemes are usually too good to be true. The old adage applies: buyer beware. It's difficult to answer your question without more detailed information. By generally, a contract can be voided for fraud or misrepresentation in the making of the contract. Whether that applies to your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Landlord - Tenant, Probate and Small Claims for Michigan on

Q: My mother passed away with no will. As her daughter, am I now responsible for her mobile home?

It is located in a seasonal campground where she paid a monthly lot rent. The trailer was never registered in her name, but she signed a lease in 2012. The owner is taking me to small claims court for the rent and cleanup fees. She says my mother added my name to the rental agreement, but I've... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Jul 26, 2019

No, you shouldn't be responsible for your mother's debts because you are her heir. And if you didn't sign a lease and never occupied the property, then you shouldn't be responsible for the lease either. If you paid rent for a while, that doesn't necessarily mean you became obligated to continue... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

Q: I inherited 28,000 from my elder aunt's estate. Check is made out to me. May I have it made out to my son instread?

Trent Harris answered on Jul 22, 2019

No. The money has to be paid out to the person who is entitled to it under Michigan law, or under the will. If you don't accept the money, then it passes to the next person who would be entitled to it.

But as an alternative, you could accept the check, cash it, and then gift the funds to...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

Q: My mom is in the early stages of dementia I believe that my brother has filed for guardianship over my mother’s estate

How do I find out if he has legal guardianship over my mom’s legal affairs?

Can me & my sister contest his guardianship if he is named as such

Trent Harris answered on Jul 15, 2019

If a guardianship has been filed, it should have been filed in the county where your mother resides. As a child of your mother, you should've been served with papers giving you notice of any guardianship proceeding since you are an "interested person" in your mother's welfare.

You could...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: probate law- MI EPIC - a representative have how long to do an inventory

Trent Harris answered on Jun 20, 2019

91 days after appointment of the personal representative.

"Within 91 days of the date of the letters of authority, the personal

representative must submit to the court the information necessary for computation of the

probate inventory fee. The inventory fee must be paid no...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: How do I put a house through probate in Michigan?

Trent Harris answered on Jun 17, 2019

There's several options. You could do a petition and order for assignment, using SCAO form pc556. Or you could file an application for informal probate and appointment of a personal representative, using form pc558. Or you could file a petition for formal probate and appointment of a personal... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law and Estate Planning for Michigan on

Q: My ex husband passed away during a search at the Wayne County clerks office they found that we are not divorced.

In the event of my husband's passing she was to sell the house and give all proceeds to his son. I'm not on the title of the house but since I am still married to him I have rights as his wife to put this in probate. She agreed and signed a contract to that effect. Since she has stated she will... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Jun 14, 2019

First, it depends on how the property was titled, i.e. whether you are on the title too and if so, how you hold title with your deceased ex, i.e. as tenants by the entireties, joint tenants, or tenants in common. Second, it depends on how far you got in your divorce. Did you try to divorce, and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on

Q: For Michigan - My Uncle passed away 5/13/2017 without a Will. He had a mobile home and a car. Only worth Ten Thousand.

His adult kids live out of state & are next of kin. His daughter has stage 4 breast cancer and fighting for her life. She said she isn't interested and has no intention to fill out forms to get titles transferred from deceased Uncle's name. His son has no interest or intention either. The Mobile... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Jun 7, 2019

In short, yes. The persons entitled to an estate can all agree in writing to change the distribution of the estate, so it passes other than as would be dictated by a will or the laws of intestate succession. They can also renounce their right to be appointed personal representative, and nominate... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Michigan on

Q: A widow can't find her husband's stock certificate. To replace it the stock company requires certification from probate.

The decedent lived in Wayne County, MI. The Stock is worth approximately $2,500. He never updated beneficiary forms and the stock company needs to see that the widow is named the personal representative or see a small estate affidavit in order to transfer the ownership of the stock to her. Before... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Jun 4, 2019

#1: It shouldn't be necessary to open a full-fledged probate estate. First, widow could try using SCAO form pc598, Affidavit of Decedent's Successor for Delivery of Certain Assets Owned by Decedent (see MCL 700.3983). That might work if stock company will accept it. Or, if stock company will not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

Q: We have completed our will and have divided our assets to our children equally. How do we complete a lady bird will ?

Trent Harris answered on Jun 4, 2019

A lady bird will is a lady bird won't, and don't.

What it sounds like you are talking about is a lady bird deed, otherwise known in Michigan as an enhanced life estate deed. A lady bird deed conveys a life estate, which is the right to possess and use property during one's lifetime, along...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

Q: Parents giving me Power of Attorney. Do I need an agreement for each or one agreement with both names?

Trent Harris answered on Jun 3, 2019

I suppose it's legally possible, at least in theory, for one power of attorney agreement to be used for two people. But the custom is to have one agreement for each person. If you had a POA agreement with two people on it, you might run into trouble getting it honored by banks, financial... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Landlord - Tenant and Probate for Michigan on

Q: My mother passed intestate. She left an old mobile home that was never transferred in her name. Am I responsible for it?

It's in a seasonal campground and the park owner wants it renovated, removed or demolished. I want nothing to do with it. Also, the park owner misplaced my mother's lease. Can I take the belongings and walk away?

Trent Harris answered on May 25, 2019

So you’re saying you don’t think there is a certificate of title saying your mother owned the trailer. Or, she leased it and didn’t own it.

If that is truly the case, then the trailer didn’t legally belong to your mother. It would not be property of her estate, but the estate could...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Michigan on

Q: Can me and my husband buy his mother's house on a land contract when husband and brother is in her will

Trent Harris answered on May 20, 2019

Yes. Even if mom’s will says the house is supposed to go to husband and brother, assuming she’s mentally competent she can still sell it to you and husband. If she does, then the house would no longer be part of her estate; instead her right to receive land contract payments as land contract... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

Q: How long will 4 heirs wait if selling estate to 5th heir on "land contract"?

The will says sell & divide equally. 4 heirs willing to sell to 5th heir, but she doesn't qualify for a loan. Selling on a "land contract", how long will the other 4 wait for their inheritance?

Trent Harris answered on May 18, 2019

A land contract is usually paid a little at a time. First, there’s a down payment. Second, there are monthly payments for most of the balance over time. Third, there’s usually a bigger lump sum payment due several (3-10) years later. When a land contract is made, the buyer has a vendee’s... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: Was advised to direct all questions to attorney rather than Trustee and now she won't respond. What are my rights?

My brother retained an attorney to assist him with distribution of trust assets. He provided "accounting" that I disputed. A certified letter was set to the attorney per his (Trustee's) instructions in the paperwork with accounting. Going on three weeks and still no response from lawyer with... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on May 16, 2019

No, the attorney doesn't necessarily have a duty to call you back. Under the trust code, a trustee has a duty to send certain information to qualified trust beneficiaries. That sounds like what you received with the accounting. If you are a qualified beneficiary of the trust, you also have a right... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Michigan on

Q: Looking for a lawyer interested in taking on a pro bono case to defend against lawsuit from Ford, any suggestions?

My son's leased truck was repossessed a few months ago for two missed payments. Ford was unwilling to let my son make the payments and stood firm on the repossession. They have since sold the truck and are suing my son for $8000, the difference between what they say is the value of the truck and... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on May 14, 2019

In short, yes. An automobile lessor can sue for a deficiency judgment under the lease. If it's in the contract, then that money can be collected in court. If your son wishes to contest the lawsuit, he would need to be able to articulate why he shouldn't be liable to the lessor. Does he have any... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Michigan on

Q: My husband is custodian on utma accounts we opened for our children when they were born, we put 20 dollars a week in

Them, can the trustee take that money if we file chapter 7?

Trent Harris answered on May 14, 2019

Generally, no. Property of the your bankruptcy estate does not include any power that the debtor (you) may exercise solely for the benefit of [a person] other than [yourself], i.e. your child. See 11 U.S.C. 541(b)(1). Under Michigan law the funds in the UGMA account belong to your children, not... Read more »

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