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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers
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...
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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...
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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...
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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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Civil Litigation and Probate for Michigan on
Q: As a residual beneficiary do I have rights to request accounting or statements from financial institutions?

Are there certain time limits that affect when I am able to request certain accounting records?

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on May 29, 2020

Beneficiary of what document? Will? Trust? Bank Account?

If the former two, you have the right to request that of the Trustee/Personal Representative

If the later, you should be dealing directly with the bank, and you don't need an 'accounting' so much as you need to...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Our mother had a living trust. can we hire an atty or other to settle the trust? Value: just under $1m incl $125k in RE

Atty firm who did the trust will help but not take full responsibility. Banks seem to help only with Acct with them Ideas?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on May 27, 2020

Yes, you can hire another attorney to help you administer the trust. Sometimes the firms who draft trusts are limited in what they can later do, because they might have a conflict of interest. Other times, clients may wish for the law firm to do things but perhaps those responsibilities are not... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Public Benefits for Michigan on
Q: My aunt gave her home to her threekids 10 years ago and reserved a life estate for herself. She went to a nursing home

January of 2020. Before she went to the nursing home. she put a new roof on the house. She applied for Medicaid in January. She was denied because DHHS said that the value of the new roof is a divestment of three-fourths of the $13000 roof cost. They are more or less saying that the life estate is... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on May 22, 2020

They may be right or if the life estate requirements were that she maintain the house they may be wrong.

Hard to say without actually examining the documents but why was this mechanism used rather than a ladybird deed which would have made this moot?

It may be too late at this...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: I am a PR of an estate. How are informal claims handled?

Clarification on formal vs informal claims.

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on May 14, 2020

There are rules that cover whether you need to pay. Your attorney is looking at the big picture of the estate, taking in to account the inventory, whether any property is secured (e.g. a car with a loan, house with a mortgage), and anything else that may play a factor in this particular estate. You... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Identity Theft and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My father used my identity on forged paperwork to take over my mom's estate in probate court. Can I take it back?

My mom named me her agent on a durable POA for all real and tangible personal property and highlighted at the end that it went into effect immediately (Dec '13) and was to "CONTINUE UNTIL REVOKED" - in all caps . Mom got her wings last April. After I refused to sign a letter of... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on May 3, 2020

A durable power of attorney terminates upon death of the principal. Once your mother died, you had no power under the POA. If you believe someone forged a document submitted to the probate court, you should contact the court.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Is there a way to find a college fund left for me by a family member based off of my name and/or SSN?

Unfortunately, the executor(my grandmother) of a college fund left to us by our great grandmother is estranged to my siblings and I due to my parents' divorce and our choice to be with my mother for 100% custody after a 50/50 arrangement for 3 years when I was in middle school. 2 years ago,... Read more »

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

Since there is no 'one repository' of 529 plans you won't find 'one place' to look for the information you seek other than your relative who has the information.

Short of that (and mending fences with family is RARELY a bad idea for non-legal reasons -- so DO...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Child Custody and Entertainment / Sports for Michigan on
Q: We are looking to create a will or difference between survivor right vs. will..which is better

We have two children and need to appoint guardianship in the event of our death, as well as distribute our life insurance properly.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Mar 27, 2020

It sounds like you are a married couple and your plan of distribution at the first death is "survivor takes all". That being the case, utilizing death beneficiary designations or joint tenancy with survivorship title holding is effective to vest ownership in those assets in the survivor.... Read more »

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