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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My uncle passed away and my dad is the only immediate relative left. What happens with his property now?

My uncle passed in September. My dad is the only immediate relative since his parents and other sibling have passed previously. We are told we need to go through probate to sign his property over. What are the steps needed to take when only one relative is left? Please help, from Michigan.

Don L Rosenberg
Don L Rosenberg answered on Jan 6, 2021

If the assets/property is in your uncle's individual name the only way to obtain access is through a probate administration. If your uncle has a will then it is a road map for his estate. If not then there is a process. if there is family harmony it is an informal process. I can explain in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Can the court enforce a specific age for inheritance to be received by beneficiaries if it’s detailed in a will??

My mom passed when I was 19, and she put in her will that we are to get 1/3 of our inheritance when we turn 30, another 1/3 when we turn 35 and the remaining 1/3 when we turn 40. Does this have to be enforced? Any way around this?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Dec 28, 2020

Yes, it's enforceable. What you are describing is not just a will, but also a trust that was created in the will (a testamentary trust). To but it bluntly, courts are going to enforce wills and trusts exactly as they are written as long as the testator/trustor had a legitimate estate planning... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My Dad left his house to his ex-wife but NOT the contents. She has already moved in before any distribution. Legal?

My Dad passed away 2 months ago and he left his house to his ex-wife. But he did Not leave her Any items In the house. She has since moved-in and is currently helping herself to everything there. The Will says the executor has 15 months to itemize and distribute the contents. Doesn't the value... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Dec 28, 2020

You can try to plead with the ex-wife to leave the household contents in place so that the person(s) who are entitled to them can get them. But if asking doesn't work, the only way for someone to force the ex-wife to leave the household contents alone is to open probate and have a personal... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My Aunt died this year. She had always told me there would be money for me. The Trustee, says she didn't name a

beneficiary. I am now told the trustee can actually keep all of the assests. Do I have recourse?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 17, 2020

You should hire a Michigan trust administration attorney to help you sort this out. At the very least, the attorney can write a letter to the trustee demanding a copy of the trust and an accounting. Do not delay. If you wait too long you may lose your rights as a legal matter due to the passage... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My father passed and left an estate are his children from a previous marriage entitled to a share?

My mother and father were married and had 4 kids together but when my father passed there was no will so does the estate go to his immediate family that he widowed or do the other kids have a share aswell?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Nov 4, 2020

Your father's wife (your mother) would be entitled to the bulk of your father's estate through the spousal election. Beyond that, children are treated pretty equally regardless whether they are children of the surviving spouse, adopted, or half-blood. And so, yes, potentially your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Support, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My biological father passed away in 2001 still owing back child support.

I'm 38 his friend that was the cosigner on his house passed july 2020. Can me and my adult sibling sue her estate for back child support Michigan since after he died it went to her they weren't married

David Soble
David Soble answered on Oct 29, 2020

This is really not a real estate matter, but more or less a divorce or family law matter.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: I have 2. Can I sue my step father, he had my Mom sign a Trust last summer before she died, leaving him everything.

My sister, and my Mom's brother, truly believe my Mom was coerced because we knew her, and too many things went against her known wishes. Still is. He is easily a multi millionaire, and my Mother told my sister and I repeatedly what she wanted us to have. Most pre-him coming into our lives.... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Oct 5, 2020

Possibly, but it's a longshot. You would need to establish the wrongdoing, which won't be easy. To compound the problem, even if you successfully challenge the validity of the trust, negating the terms of the trust, your mom was still married to this man and he would then be eligible to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: How do I proceed? My single deceased mom's home in Michigan was sold a few weeks ago at auction. I have three siblings.

My mom died in 2016. My brother was in charge of my mom's estate and even had one of his kids living in our moms house since 2016 until recently (he never consulted me). Moms house was just sold at auction a few weeks ago, After back taxes were paid there is a sum of money left over. My... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Sep 20, 2020

You need to hire a local attorney in the county where your mother resided.

Your situation is far too complicated to provide an appropriate answer in a Public forum like this — you need to consult with a local attorney ASAP.

— this answer is provided for information only and...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Grandmothers estate

My grandmother recently passed and I received a copy of her will as her son, my father passed before her. I am mentioned as an heir. What are my rights? This case is out of Michigan.

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Sep 12, 2020

You would stand to receive whatever the will would have left to your father, unless you have siblings...in which case you would split whatever your father would have received.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Mom had a mortgage and died recently. No will I'm the only child being made Executor. What are options keeping the home.

Am I able to assume her Mortgage and keep making the payments or am I required to sell the home and land. I want to keep the property and can make the payments. But I don't know how the process goes and am feeling overwhelmed.

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Sep 1, 2020

You can keep the property and continue making payments. Federal law, 12 USC 1701, invalidates a due-on-sale clause in this instance. You may want to confirm this with the lender because, although I believe this law to be applicable, there may be facts of which I am not aware.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: We had an attorney prepare Michigan Lady Bird deeds for some land but I'm concerned about how they are written.

My mom hired someone to prepare Lady Bird deeds to leave her Michigan land to her children. What the attorney has prepared is simply a quit claim deed in the first paragraph and then has an appropriate sounding Lady Bird clause below it. This is unlike other deeds I have seen where they state in... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Aug 25, 2020

This is a forum for general questions. If you'd like a second opinion, you'll need to hire a local attorney to help. You can look up attorneys by practice area and location on this site. Give a call and a 'remote' review of documents is often possible... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Can a POA give away the principal’s personal items to family?

My grandfather has Alzheimer’s. My aunt is POA and the only living child of his. Can she start giving away personal items in the home such as family momentos, clothes, furniture, tools, etc before selling his home to move him? What about holding a living estate sale?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Aug 20, 2020

Generally yes, the POA would allow her to sell property. There is no requirement that it be done through an estate sale, but any proceeds would need to be kept or used for your grandfather's benefit.

While an estate sale is possible, most estate sale companies charge a portion of the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Regarding last will & testament - person's name.

What kind of problems present itself in probate court if the LW&T states John Joe versus John H. Joe or John Harry Joe? Should i request that John's lawyer re-do the LW&T to include middle initial or middle name?

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Aug 18, 2020

It is VERY unlikely to cause issues. Usually there is something else in the will that will clarify any 'ambiguities' (e.g. "My Wife Jane Joe", and "my children John Joe Jr and Billie Jo Joe-Harris" are identified in the will) which would make the identity of the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My dad passed away which he lived in Michigan. Never married. Two kids grandma is now taking me to court for his house

Can she do this? Im the oldest brother is not 18 yet. She said she wants the house in her name and if anything happens to her then the house would go to me. I thought I was next of kin. Please help with any advice. So being that I am over 21 she can still get the house from us?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Aug 17, 2020

You are - likely - the next of kin and entitled to half of your dad's estate. Grandma may try - and could be named personal representative.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Single mom left no will. Only daughter showed to court as personal Rep. Do I need to involve grandchildren still?

I lived with my mom my whole life. I am the only living child besides one grandson that didn't show up to court. I plan to continue living in the house which is her only property. Do I need to involve him if there is nothing for him to inherit?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Aug 15, 2020

Is this grandson your son? If so, then no, you don't need to include him. If he is the child of a sibling that is deceased, then yes, you do need to account for him. If he is the only grandson, he would inherit whatever his mom or dad (your sibling) would have received. If you had just one... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My dad is from the state of Michigan where he has a home and pays taxes. However recently he has been moved to a nursing

My dad is from the state of Michigan where he has a home and pays taxes. However recently he has been moved to a nursing home in the state of Wisconsin. He would like a durable power of attorney with me as appointee, should I get these forms based out of Wisconsin because that is where he will be... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Aug 1, 2020

It sounds like Wisconsin would be the better choice if that is where he is going to be for the foreseeable future.

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1 Answer | Asked in Banking, Child Support, Estate Planning and Family Law for Michigan on
Q: I live in michigan and have family court questions that the courthouse couldn’t answer. Who can i call to get answers.

I need help figuring out the legal options i have. My situation is complicated so a phone call would be the easiest route to discuss in further detail. Please help.

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jun 16, 2020

Courts are prohibited by law from providing legal advice. To do otherwise would make them biased by definition and unable to handle a case impartially.

You need to hire your own attorney especially if your situation is ‘complicated’. Your best option is to find a LOCAL lawyer as local...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Health Care Law, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Can my sister set up POA (for legal and medical) while she is hospitalized? She is still mentally competent.

My sister is in the hospital, for kidney disease and another life-threatening illness. She will remain there for another 7 weeks, after which she is expected to get a kidney transplant.  She is mentally competent--understands what the doctors tell her, has normal conversations with us and can... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jun 16, 2020

The short answer to your first questions is yes, if she is mentally competent she can sign powers of attorney no matter what the state of her physical health is.

The much better answer to all these questions is she should not be making these decisions without the involvement of a local...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: House with mortgage-Successor on mortgage-

Can the mortgage be put in my name with out paying off the Creditors and Heirs? This is for a house in Michigan

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jun 2, 2020

The mortgage isn’t your real problem. It is the deed that matters.

And no you can’t just transfer a house through probate without taking creditors — and the other heirs — into account. There may be options but without seeing all the details (which would not be appropriate in a...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Unmarried cohabitating partner dies intestate, does the survivor need to prove that they own furnishings?

The deceased partner owned the home. The surviving partner provided almost all of the furnishings. The personal representative for the estate needs to provide inventory for probate. Do heirs have a claim on the survivor's personal property? How do you prove who owned what? There are some... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Jun 1, 2020

First question to ask is whether this is an issue. In other words, is the personal representative contesting the surviving partner's claim in the property? If not, then there's not much of an issue; the court is not interested in sifting through items of personal property. If there is an... Read more »

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