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Questions Answered by Trent Harris

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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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: Why would estranged spouse who left decreased for another man and lagged on signing divorce papers get all vs kin

My brother's wife suddenly decided to leave him right after going thru 5 IVF treatments trying to have a baby. She had met another man and moved to a different state to be with him. My brother had paid her the money they had mutually settled on in the divorce because it was going to be easy and he... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on May 13, 2019

Generally, a divorce in Michigan isn't legally final until a judgment of divorce has been entered. But, Michigan law creates an exception to this in the Estates and Protected Individuals Code: a "surviving spouse" does not include someone who, for 1 year or more before the other spouse's death, (1)... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Michigan on

Q: Can I file bankruptcy on one judgement that has been ordered against me and not all of my debt?

I just received a judgement against me for an outstanding auto loan that my ex husband was suppose to take care of per our divorce decree. I financially cannot afford to pay for this with my current car payment and other bills I have. I have been told that I could file bankruptcy for this but my... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on May 9, 2019

No, when you file bankruptcy you have to list all of your debts. However, the damage to your credit from bankruptcy is only temporary. If you pay your bills on time after you get a bankruptcy discharge, your credit score will probably go back up again relatively quickly, because your debt ratio... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Michigan on

Q: If a husband and wife own a home with no mortgage,and the husband alone by himself applies for bankruptcy

will the creditors go after the house if he applies by himself alone for the bankruptcy?

Trent Harris answered on May 6, 2019

Creditors would not be able to go after the house owned by spouses as tenants by the entireties, unless both spouses were liable on the debt. But note, in a bankruptcy it would be the bankruptcy trustee, not creditors, that might do this.

As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to...
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1 Answer | Asked in Constitutional Law, Consumer Law, Criminal Law and Real Estate Law for Michigan on

Q: Is it illegal for an agent to cash a money order deposit if we have not gotten an approval or keys to the house?

My husband and I met a Realitor who helped us find a house. We gave her a deposit and app fee. We never heard back from the Agent with an approval or denial. We found out that the money order was cashed, and we still have not received keys, approval, or a denial. Is this illegal? Do we have a... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on May 2, 2019

It sounds like you're talking about a Realtor who helped you to find a rental home, as opposed to buying. It may not be illegal for the Realtor to cash the check. The Realtor, whether an agent for the landlord or for you, holds the funds in escrow/trust. But if you have not been approved for the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: what are rules in michigan in regards to finding a will year after probate

Trent Harris answered on May 1, 2019

It depends on whether the prior probate was informal or formal.

If the probate was informal, then there hasn't been a judicial finding about whether the person had a will - the facts in the application for informal probate were presumed to be true. If you come forward with the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: After consulting a lawyer, I am still confused about whether I should open a probate case or leave it alone.

My significant other died in January before he could sign the latest will we had prelared, so I was told everything would go to his only child, his daughter, unless I could find the hand-written will he signed in 2015 and then we would open probate. After I found the will, I was told to keep it... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Apr 25, 2019

So it sounds like you found the hand-written 2015 will? If so, the will may have legal effect, since holographic wills can be enforced in Michigan. The decision whether to open probate depends on the assets of the estate, and the purposes that would be served by having a personal representative... Read more »

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

Q: I'm the personal representative in my mother's estate how do I have the deed to the house change the my name

The house is worth less than $22,000 and I closed all the estate yesterday

Trent Harris answered on Apr 24, 2019

Assuming you were in informal probate, assuming you have letters of authority that are unrestricted as to your powers, and assuming you're the heir/devisee who is entitled to inherit the house, then you could sign a personal representative's deed conveying the house from the estate to yourself. The... Read more »

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