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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: How can I get proof my brother and sister have poa and are trustees for her trust for my mother.

I have asked to see them but they have refused to show the documents to me

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Sep 30, 2022

Your brother and sister have no obligation to share your mother's power of attorney or your mother's trust with you in a strict legal sense. If your mother is living, then it is likely the trust is revocable and she is the only present beneficiary of the trust, and no one else is entitled... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Is a Notice to Creditors required for a person who dies who has ONLY a Trust and no will on file at probate court?

My mother is 97yo. She has no property that she owns and no car. She is in hospice and close to death. Her assets include only 3 POD CDs, a checking account (current values < $50,000 for monthly recurring bills; one credit card with a balance of < $100; a Savings account of just over $1,000;... Read more »

Brooke Lauren Archie
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Brooke Lauren Archie
answered on Sep 22, 2022

Short answer is no. If she has no assets to be probated , and no will to be admitted, there’s no need to open an probate estate in the court. Absent opening an estate in probate court, there’s no legal requirement to publish notice to creditors as they can only file claims against probate assets.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My father passed in 2021 and I'm executor of estate. My sister wants copy of his taxes, do I have to give copy to her?

The estate has been completed and payments given to everyone. His original taxes for 2022 have been filed and are kept with the rest of his records in a safe. Do I legally have to give her a copy?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Sep 7, 2022

Most likely yes. You have a duty to act in the best interests of the estate and heirs and devisees. You also have a duty to provide reasonable information about the estate and estate property to the heirs and devisees of the estate, especially information pertaining to the financial condition of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning, Family Law and Civil Litigation for Michigan on
Q: Does my aunt owe me money for not doing as she promised

I bought my home from my grandmas estate. My aunt was executor of the estate. Part of the deal when buying the house was that uncle would help me install new siding. Since the moment I paid them they have 100% ignored me. I have the siding, but now need to pay someone to install it

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
answered on Sep 6, 2022

What was in the written agreement? It's unlikely you can enforce an agreement to "help".

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My parents got killed by my sister. I was over the estate. I took the insurance money and gave house to my brother and

Wife . Unpond agreement house get sold I get half they get half . My brother died now she's trying not to give me my half what can I do. Plus I've been living in the home and have made major repairs that brought up property value and paid out of pocket for supply's etc

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
answered on Aug 24, 2022

The answer would depend on what exactly the agreement says, and how ownership was transferred out of the estate. Were you on the deed as tenants in common, with your brother and his wife as one-half?

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Do I have to do an individual power of attorney for my parents.
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
answered on Aug 6, 2022

Are you asking if you need to have separate PoAs to name your parents as your agents?

No.

Are you asking if you can create a document to allow you to act for one or both parents?

The answer provided is correct: you can’t do that.

If you have questions or you...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Personal Injury, Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: I am 65 years old. My father is 97 and has millions. Can I sue him for neglect that occurred 62 years ago?

I was 2 years old when I was injured and traumatized by an event that shaped my life. He is a religious man with millions and now that he is in his last years and he continues to deny his responsibility and is punishing me for not following his faith by leaving me out of his will. Can I sue him for... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
answered on Aug 5, 2022

A Michigan attorney could advise best, but your question remains open for two weeks. I'm sorry for your ordeal. You could reach out to attorneys to discuss, but keep in mind that law firms that handle injury cases might not consider something like this on a contingency basis. There is also the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: When my mother passed away the deed to the house was in her name and my brothers name was on it in survivorship only,

My brother has recently passed away he never put the deed in his name so is it part of his estate or would it be my mother's estate?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Aug 1, 2022

It's unclear from the question whether your brother was a remainderman on a lady bird deed (he only became owner when your mother passed) or whether your brother was a joint tenant with your mother, who had right of survivorship. Either way, if your brother survived your mother, the house... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Is an estate lawyer required to provide a copy of a Will to a person named in the Will?

The law office that took care of my father’s will will not provide a copy of any of the children listed. He said I needed to contact the lawyer of the co-representative of the estate that had nothing to do with drawing it up

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Jul 27, 2022

The directions given to you by the drafting attorney are correct. When an attorney drafts estate plan documents for a client, the attorney owes the client the duty of confidentiality, even after death. After a client's death, the only person who can waive confidentiality for the client is the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My husband & I have a joint revocable trust, with our son as the beneficiary. My husband just died.

Do I need to do anything? If so what and why?

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
answered on Jul 15, 2022

While it is true that every trust is unique and needs to be reviewed before definitive answers can be given, some things are 'a given'.

1) you should review your estate plan and trust regularly whether or not someone has died, but when there is a death it is CRITICAL to review...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Tax Law for Michigan on
Q: My father passed away at the end of May of this year. He was retired, so received Social Security and a small pension.

Will I need to file income tax on his SS and pension earnings or will this be taken care of in Probate? Thank you.

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jul 8, 2022

Most probate attorneys do not include tax compliance as part of the engagement, but some do. The bottom line is you should discuss this with your probate attorney so that you have clarity regarding who is going to take care of that.

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3 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: What happens to a revocable land trust when is terminates/expires?

I am a co-trustee on a revocable land trust originally designed to generate cash for our children's education. Neither child needed it for that purpose. Our divorce agreement states it will terminate upon our youngest turning 30. It does not specify what happens at termination. I am not aware... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris
answered on Jun 30, 2022

We would need to see the trust agreement to determine whether the property reverts to the grantor(s), or whether title vests in the beneficiaries. If the trust is still revocable (because the grantor(s) are alive, the grantors could revoke the trust and own the property as they choose. There is... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: I know cars & house must be appraised. How do you calculate the other inventory items? See below

Furniture, linens, utensils, flatware, dishes and clothing. Do we just guess what the value could be? The clothing would be donated because none of the heirs can wear the clothing or want them. Is there some type of calculation formula? These items really don't have a monetary value. As far... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Jun 3, 2022

There are a number of places where you can get inventory values for the things you need.

For valuation of real estate, an appraisal is acceptable but may not be required. Local practice may vary, and other sources of valuation for real estate may also be accepted, such as a Comparative...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Can my sister-in-law contest my rights as a wife to get everything? Do we still need a will? Can she go to probate?

Does a wife automatically get everything if husband dies? House, property, money, etc?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
answered on May 23, 2022

Nothing is automatic except beneficiary designations and joint accounts. But yes, most people's estates do not exceed the spousal elective share and so substantially everything goes to the spouse. That is by design because the public policy behind that is that 1) we can safely presume that... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Can my husband's sister contest a wife's rights to everything? Do I still need a will?
Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on May 20, 2022

By "a wife's rights to everything", I'm assuming you mean the surviving spouse's right to a share of an intestate estate. Generally speaking, if the husband dies leaving a probate estate and leaves a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse is entitled to the first $240,000... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Elder Law for Michigan on
Q: Can a sibling sign herself up for POA over a parent who has dementia without informing her other siblings?
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
answered on May 12, 2022

No -- and there are several issues rattling around in your question that SCREAMS your family need to get real advice from a local estate planning attorney.

If someone lacks 'testamentary capacity' because of dementia or any other illness, they cannot create estate planning...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: What do I need to file with the court when I find out my half sister was adopted out and in wasn't entitled to anything?

I'm going through informal probate. There wasn't a will. my half-sister took me to court a while back and I end up being made personal representative of the estate and I had asked my lawyer to find out if she was adopted and he said he asked her lawyer and he said no she wasn't... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
answered on May 3, 2022

Her adoption status will not matter if it was a step-parent adoption; she is both the child of your common parent as well as her step-dad's, and can take from both estates. Likewise, half siblings are treated the same as any other child under the law.

Whether she's entitled to...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Who lists Deaths or estates in the local paper?

We hired a lawyer to represent us in the estate of my wife's deceased father. We thought everything was going well as we were filling out asset reports and such we were giving bank accounts to the lawyer and everything seemed normal after 6 months he asked us for our proof and right up for the... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
answered on Apr 26, 2022

USUALLY the lawyer handles that, but what did your retainer say about who was doing what?

There won't be a 'problem' since the estate doesn't need to be closed for 12 months, but it is important to be sure you know who will be doing what when you hire an attorney. You...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Can an Executive Director of an assisted living facility refer their resident to an attorney to have a POA and Will made

The facility is located in the state of michigan and the new resident had no POA or a will that would have specific directives.

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Apr 25, 2022

Yes, there is nothing illegal about that, however employees of the assisted living facility should not serve as witnesses to the signatures on the patient advocate designation.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Is a notarize will enough for a single person to be left everything I have and no chance of family fighting it ?
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
answered on Apr 22, 2022

Never say never. There is always a chance for fighting - someone may alleged that you weren't in your right mind when you made the will, or that you were under undue influence, or that there was a technical error in the document. All of these reasons are why it's important to have an... Read more »

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