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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Health Care Law and Social Security for Michigan on
Q: If a person on SSI/medicaid wanted to go on a cruise, are they able to pay for their caretaker's ticket without penalty?

I'm physically disabled from brain cancer. I require a wheelchair, receive SSI/Medicaid and have a registered in-home caretaker from the state of Michigan. I would like to go on a cruise, but it would be necessary that my caretaker come along with me. Can I pay for their ticket and have it count... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 26, 2019

The $10,000 inheritance is disqualifying income in the month of receipt. There is not much you can do about that. If you still have that money on hand on the first day of the following month, sitting in a regular ol' checking account, for example, it will be a countable asset and that will again... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: is there a time limit between TOD and the passing of the owner?

If the TOD was signed seven days prior to the account owner passing, would there be reason for dispute?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Sep 26, 2019

If you mean "can a Transfer On Death designation (TOD) on a bank account or brokerage account expire due to the passage of time after it is signed?", then

the answer is no.

As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney in your...
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2 Answers | Asked in Civil Rights, Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My husbands dad passed away last year. His wife their step mom has the house. A niece came into the picture and took poa

They moved her to Mississippi. Now the niece is refusing to let my husband and his brother into the house to get their dads personal stuff. She even sent a detailed email stating we could go in. Then called and retracted the email verbally. What are the rights of my husband and his brother. If any,

Gary Kollin
Gary Kollin answered on Sep 20, 2019

No attorney can opine without reviewing the will

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My Mother Died in May 9th and my Step-father Died in September 14th before finishing/starting her estate.

Now step-dad's biological child(one of the two he has) is saying us step-kids get nothing because 100% of moms estate goes to spouse(step-dad) and now we are not entitled to his estate as step-children. Is this true? It seems like my moms estate should be settled first which we are heirs of, then... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 19, 2019

It sounds like your mom and step-dad had none of their own children. In other words, she had her children (you and your full siblings) and he had his children (the step-children in relation to you). And your mom did not have a will.

In that case, under Michigan law your step-dad should...
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2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My husband passed away and he was the conservator on my sons settlement. My son is now 18 how does he get his money
Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Sep 18, 2019

Your son could try contacting the banks, brokerage companies, etc where his accounts were held. To find out, he could look through your deceased husband's records, and could also examine the probate court conservatorship file. Perhaps the locations of the accounts were identified on one of the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Can I claim Unclaimed "properties" as a grandchild if the legal representative (executor/administrator) can't be reached

According to the State my deceased grandmother has unclaimed "property" and the then executor/administrator has not been able to be reached after about a year of attempts. I'm guessing the "property" is nearing the time the state can claim it and take it (I'd hate to see it go to them). I don't... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Sep 10, 2019

Heirs can submit claims, but it gets harder with more documentation needed the further along the 'chain' you go. The EASY way is for the PR to make the claim for the estate, but that would also probably require reopening the estate.

If you can't find the PR any more or they have become...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My understanding is that IRS regulations require that an estate be administered by a court if the estate contains over

$100,000 of US Treasury securities at the time of the decedent's death. Is there any way around this requirement since it would require I incur legal fees? Rest of estate was in name of a revocable living Trust and, therefore, did not require involvement of a court or any legal expense.

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Aug 31, 2019

"Administered by a Court" is a rather strange turn of phrase. So far as I know, if there is 1 CENT of an asset that is listed in the name of the deceased and no beneficiary named on the asset, Probate is required to transfer the asset in EVERY state. In Michigan, there are 'simplified' procedures... Read more »

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 »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 14, 2019

Contact the State Bar of Michigan at (517) 346-6300.

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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
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 Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Hello. I inherited 28,000 from my aunt. The check is made out to me from her estate. May i have the check made out to my
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jul 25, 2019

It appears you already asked this question. No. The money has to be paid out to the person who is entitled to it under either law or the will. If you don't accept the money, then it passes to the next person who would be entitled to it under either law or the will, and that may not be the person... 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
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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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: in michigan can we be forced to sell my deceased mothers house to pay her old car loan debt due to probate

my sister lives in the house and we dont want to sell it

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jul 17, 2019

This depends a lot on how the accounts and home ownership were structured. However, you probably can't be 'forced' to sell an asset unless you neglect to follow through with things such that there is a judgment entered against the estate and there are no other assets in the estate.

The...
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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
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 Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Can a Conservator of the Estate have a previous bankruptcy?

Michigan

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jun 24, 2019

Yes.

As to whether or not that is a good idea, well, that is a far more complicated question. PLEASE don't try to make this decision without a licensed professional helping, as there will likely be issues you're not thinking of that will matter.

-- This answer is offered for...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: What the average time to open an estate in Michigan? We sent the retainer fee in March of 2019 and nothing was filed as

Of May of 2019. I reached out to the attorney to get updates. In fact, nothing was done until I called. I just received a detailed bill with all the calls and emails. It seems odd that my attorney waited so long. Almost as though she forgot about the case until I called. Is this typical?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Jun 18, 2019

An attorney cannot open an estate without the necessary information, which must come from the client. If you provided all information when you paid the retainer, then I'm not sure what happened. Regardless, it's a question to ask the attorney. Ordinarily, an estate can be opened (e.g. obtaining... 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
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
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
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
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
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 »

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