Beulah, MI asked in Estate Planning for Michigan

Q: I had been taking care of my mother who had dementia in her home for the last four years. I never received any help.

from my siblings. My mother has passed and all her possessions are in a trust which is being split equally by the three of us. No one is helping me pack up the house, (I am disabled and it is causing me physical pain) or pay for any utilities, or insurance. They feel it is my responsibility because I live there, even though the house is not in my name. I feel that I have been used. Could I submit a bill to the estate for the 24 hour care that I had been giving her for the last 4 years? I feel totally used. I originally planned to move on February 1st, but if I stay the insurance will be much less because the house is occupied. If I leave the house will cost 3x more and my brother and sister would have to split. But they will not split if I stay when the insurance will be 3 times less if I stay. Our lawyer is saying we have to work it out among ourselves. The trustee is supposed to be chemical bank, but the lawyer made my sister the trustee. She is not being fair.

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Joseph Rizzo III
John Joseph Rizzo III
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Traverse City, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: There is no law that would prevent your claim. You can try to bill the estate for the care you provided, but be prepared for a fight. Your sister is the trustee, controlling the money. She will most likely use trust assets to fight your claim; you would usually be required to use your own assets for legal fees. We see your situation all the time; it is always difficult. If you make a claim and they fight it, your realistic goal would be to get the matter into mediation and try to negotiate a settlement. I would recommend meeting with an attorney to discuss your options.

John J. Rizzo III

Swogger, Bruce & Millar Law Firm, P.C.

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