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Michigan Elder Law Questions & Answers

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

Q: How can I change the beneficiary on mom's life insurance? I am her POA and sole caregiver living with me since 1996.

Years ago mom added my sister as a joint account holder on all her bank accounts as well as the beneficiary to a small life insurance policy. She also had a much larger policy that when mom became disabled my sister did not properly handle causing it to start issuing lifetime annuity checks, at... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jul 31, 2019

Assuming the PoA allows you to deal with insurances, you can use that to modify beneficiaries, however be careful as many do not allow 'self dealing' meaning that if you try to assign the property to yourself you could run afoul of ethics rules.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE seek the advice of a...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Elder Law for Michigan on

Q: I'm in MI now. I was Divorced in 4/2011. Got house.

Daughter shows up after 11 yrs, sells home, was POA, and puts me in a HOME! House appraised at $55.000 but conntract states $30,000. Other $25,000 got as unreported CASH which I never saw ANY of money. And didn't need put in a home! Finally moved me to a home in MI . I want back to Kersey and house... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jun 19, 2019

You need to seek out local legal help not the TV news.

Acting under a Po A involves honoring the 'fiduciary duty' to act in the principal's best interest. It sounds like that may not have been what happened here, but without exploring facts that would not be appropriate in a public forum...
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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 Elder Law and Probate for Michigan on

Q: I need help finding a pro bono attorney to help open my father's estate and file elder abuse charges.

I live in Honolulu, Hawaii but my father was living in Detroit Michigan (Wayne County). I need an attorney located in Michigan.

Brent T. Geers answered on May 6, 2019

You're talking about a subject that can be criminal or civil. For criminal charges, you'd need to present the facts to the prosecutor's office (typically done through the filing of a police report); the prosecutor decides whether to pursue charges - you cannot compel them to criminally charge... Read more »

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

Q: Can my stepmother put my deceased fathers' assets in her name after probate court grants her personal representative?

My father died without a will. Most of his assets are solely in his name. The house, vehicles, property, etc. She plans to continue living in the home. If and when she decides to sell the home or if she dies- do her children inherit everything?

Trent Harris answered on Feb 18, 2019

Under Michigan law in the situation you describe the surviving spouse gets the first $100,000, plus 1/2 of the rest of your father’s estate. The remaining 1/2 goes to children of the decedent.

If and when the stepmom dies, her share of your father’s estate would go to whoever she...
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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Elder Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on

Q: Can a devisee be removed from the Will due to a physical altercation with an heir and vandalizing the home?

My dad left his home to three heirs and a devisee (I'm a heir/personal representative of the estate). One heir and the devisee got into a fight and the police had to be called. The police had the devisee leave the home. The next day, the devisee and her mother returned to the home and broke in,... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi answered on Sep 18, 2018

The detail is not relevant to the question, and no, because there was an altercation you can't change the terms of the will. You MAY be able to make a claim against the heir, and attach a portion of the inheritance to pay for that claim, but you need to do that properly and the BEST way to insure... Read more »

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

Q: Can a devisee be removed from the Will due to a physical altercation with an heir and vandalizing the home?

My dad left his home to three heirs and a devisee (I'm a heir/personal representative of the estate). One heir and the devisee got into a fight and the police had to be called. The heir was asked if she wanted them to take her to jail, but she said no, just have her leave the home. The next day,... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Aug 30, 2018

No, a devisee can’t be removed from the Will due to a physical altercation with an heir and vandalizing the home. But the estate could have a claim against the devisee for the damage done, which could be used to offset money the devisee would otherwise receive from the estate.

As always,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Michigan on

Q: Woman that caused elder abuse was not charged with any crime. Solid proof was given.

Prosecuting Attorney didn't want to tie up the court system with the case. The abused was never questioned by PA. PA believed everything this woman and her lawyer that she hired said. I am looking to have the case reopened to get the full truth out.

Brent T. Geers answered on Aug 7, 2018

It sounds like there is no case to re-open. Prosecutors charge crimes, and it is up to them whether they will do so. Having been involved with similar cases, I can tell you that from a prosecutor's perspective, they can be more difficult to prosecutor than meets the eye. What you may find to be... Read more »

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

Q: How do I remove a tenant of my deceased father's estate who is also 1 of 3 heirs and personal rep of the estate?

When my late father wrote his will, my sister was not living with him. However, she moved in during the last five months of his life and is now occupying the home (Michigan). We'd (me and my other sister who both live in different states from our sister/Dad) would like to sell the house and split... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi answered on May 9, 2018

What does the will say about the disposition of the house? Is it supposed to be sold under the terms of the will? Has the nominated PR been appointed by the local Probate Court? Has there even been a petition/application for probate?

You need to consult with a probate attorney in the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Michigan on

Q: How can I find a missing insurance policy? I have searched retirement and bank account holders.

I cannot find the policy and have searched her retirement and bank accounts. I was her conser/guardian and completed the probate process in 2014, A sister also came in and helped with caretaking after mom was diagnosed with dementia and deemed incompetent in 2011. I suspect this policy was... Read more »

John Joseph Rizzo III answered on Feb 2, 2018

I would suggest looking at her tax returns to see if the insurance company provided any documentation of interest or earnings. If you are still the conservator, you could send your letters of authority to the biggest insurance companies to see if they have any records. Many times a policy will be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law and Real Estate Law for Michigan on

Q: My father is 84 and recently moved into a senior apartment and is concerned about earnings from the sale of his house.

When the house is sold and the mortgage paid off, what is the best way to deal with any earnings he may have? And how will the earnings impact is ability to received medicaid if he needs to move to a nursing home?

John Joseph Rizzo III answered on Feb 2, 2018

If your father is single, the proceeds from the sale of the house would count against his $2,000 asset limit for Medicaid long-term care benefits. He would need to consult an elder law attorney to create a plan to save the proceeds, or spend it down, usually by paying the nursing home until the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Michigan on

Q: Do spouses automatically have power of attorney for their partner in cases of dementia?

John Joseph Rizzo III answered on Feb 2, 2018

The answer is no. If a legal power of attorney was never signed the spouse would have no power over assets solely in the other spouse's name. The probate court would have to appoint a conservator to handle those assets. In practice, many couples hold their assets jointly and the competent spouse... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Michigan on

Q: My dad has Alzheimer's and he got married while after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's now his wifewant to be guardian

I was just served with the papers on September 1st she file for guardianship on August 11th the court date is September 18th at 10:30 at in Detroit Michigan what can I do

John Joseph Rizzo III answered on Feb 2, 2018

A spouse would normally have first priority as a guardian, but that is only a starting point. If she is not the best person to serve as guardian, you can object in court and ask for a different person to be appointed. The fact that he had Alzheimer's before the marriage is not relevant unless he... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Michigan on

Q: Am I responsible for my elder parents care if I haven't seen or talked to them in 20 years due to abuse

My parents live 9 hrs away I live in Michigan they live in Michigan also I have 3 sisters only 1 will talk to them none of us have money and none of us want them to live with us I do not want either my mom or dad living with me nor do I feel I should be responsible for paying for a nursing home or... Read more »

John Joseph Rizzo III answered on Feb 2, 2018

You have no legal obligation to pay debts of your parents unless you sign an agreement to do so. In the situation you describe, I do not feel you could be legally compelled to contribute to any of their debts.

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

Q: Who is responsible for funeral expenses when a parent dies?

In the case I'm referring to, my brother in law's mother died in a nursing home. She had no insurance or money or property. She had a will but no property. Who is responsible for funeral expenses? My brother-in-law has 3 siblings. We're in Michigan

Maureen Martin Caster answered on Jan 22, 2018

The easy answer is the person who signed the paperwork at the funeral home. If his family is kind, they will equally share in the cost but they are not required. If no one makes provisions at a funeral home and does not claim the body, the county will make arrangements for a cremation and keep... Read more »

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

Q: If your parent has nothing in writing who makes medical decision if there is no spouse. I have given written permission

I have given written permission for everything so far. Now he is on life support with brain damage and five organs shut down. His siblings want him on a ventilator forever yet they haven’t been around ever. I am 26 and haven’t met most of them.

Brent T. Geers answered on Oct 16, 2017

Written permission must be legally sufficient. Otherwise, you may need to obtain guardianship of your father, which involves a probate court process.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Michigan on

Q: Where can I find out information on the law regarding elder abuse?

My brothers 2 adult children and 1 teenage granddaughter live in his home, where they were raised. He has afib, other health problems. He fell, the daughter, then later while he was still on floor granddaughter walked by, both ignored his plea for help. He had fallen and then again while trying to... Read more »

Brent T. Geers answered on Sep 5, 2017

The legal issues are whether your brother is a vulnerable adult and if the two adult children are caregivers. To oversimplify this: no one is legally obligated to render or call for aid on behalf of another adult. Walking by someone laying on the ground- a relative, at that - is morally repugnant,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Elder Law for Michigan on

Q: My 85 year old brother was tricked into signing a "quit claim" deed over to his step-daughter. Any recourse?

Brent T. Geers answered on Aug 30, 2017

Potentially. There might be some undue influence going on, or even vulnerable adult abuse. Undue influence is a civil remedy that could possibly result in a court ordering that the deed be turned back over to your brother. Vulnerable adult abuse is a crime, which will require investigation by Adult... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Elder Law for Michigan on

Q: My mother is 85 years old she takes her money and squanders it does not pay her bills what can I do to take over

She also is in the progress of being evicted from her home she has no gas or electricity cuz she did not pay the bills this is a very time thing

Neil Colman answered on Aug 2, 2017

You could petition the Probate Court for guardianship and your appointment as your mother's conservator. Consult a probate attorney.

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

Q: My mothers Will says you can't leave out any document she created. how can that be verified?

My brother changed lawyers from who my mom saw when she signed a trust. He refuses to let my mothers original lawyer talk to my lawyer. I know there is something being left out but I am being told it can't be enforced because it is not going thru probate? What can I do? I keep telling my brother... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jul 4, 2017

This is a VERY fact specific question, that can only be answered by referring to all the documents: trusts, deeds and anything else that may apply! You cannot get an answer here, but only from an attorney who actually reviews all the documents.

One of the biggest advantages of trusts is...
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