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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers
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...
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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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: how to get a sibling out of a home our parents willed to their 4 children

He's been living there rent free. Title and all bills are in my deceased parents name. Will states that the condo is to be divided by 4 or if all agree the brother can buy us out. I do not agree. What do we do now? My sister is the executive. We signed over our rights as executives in order to... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Apr 5, 2022

I assume your sister is the personal representative. Michigan doesn’t appoint executors or executives.

If she’s been appointed by the court she has the authority and is REQUIRED to settle the estate which means selling or distributing the house.

However, the tone of your...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Unmarried gay daughter’s partner, together 10 yrs, entitled to any inheritance
Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Apr 2, 2022

No, not unless it was left to the partner in a will, trust, beneficiary designation, or ladybird deed for example.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My grandmother recently passed away. She did not have a will. The bills are up to date. How do we transfer the deed?

Taxes are up to date and so are utilities. Do we have to go through probate to acquire the home or can we handle the paperwork filings ourselves?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Mar 29, 2022

It sounds like you will need to open an informal estate so a personal representative can be appointed. The personal representative can then sign a deed transferring real estate to the heir(s) of the estate or to a buyer.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My father passed recently. He named me, his daughter, as beneficiary for his life insurance policy back in 2014.

He had to get his life insurance papework notarized due to state of Michigan retirement/pension rules, which he did, and then sent it in to be filed. In 2021, he remarried and went through the state of Michigan online system and put his new wife down as the beneficiary. He did not go through a... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Mar 27, 2022

Likely the new wife. There seems to be some evidence that is his latest intent. Failing a proper beneficiary could subject it to probate, to which the new wife would be entitled to her spouse elective share.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Michigan on
Q: I've a will specifying my 2 cars go to a friend on my death. Will the friend have to pay taxes to receive the vehicles?

I am divorced, cars are titled in my name only and fully paid for, no liens. I reside in Michigan. Michigan SOS (DMV) advised heir will have to pay sales tax - seems strange. Is this correct? My house will transfer without fees on my death.

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

The Secretary of State is correct in this case. Only transfers of title between immediate family members are exempt from the 6% tax. If your friend is to receive the vehicles, he or she will need to pay that 6% tax.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Michigan on
Q: In Michigan do we pay taxes after selling deceased parents home

They had no will and we just sold it ( a few years after they passed after getting permission from courts).

There are 7 children splitting the money whom each get about $8,000 each.

They had no other assets or estate to speak of

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Mar 7, 2022

Did you already pay the inventory fee to the probate court? Other than that, there shouldn't be.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: How do I register my deceased fathers pistol?

Both my father and stepmom passed away there was no will and it did not go to probate as there were no assets and me and my sister agreed. My father had a pistol that he carried on him. So how do I get it registered in my name and what do I need to do so? Tried looking online and can’t find any... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Mar 6, 2022

I am sorry to hear of your loss, but you've made a critical error in your factual discussion. If there was a pistol, there WERE assets no matter what your sister and you agreed.

You are correct that you probably don't need to go through a 'full' probate if the firearm...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Hello. My mother was a drug addict in the 90's. The state of Michigan took us in and made us foster kids. My grandmother

& I filed missing persons reports and took dental records to the morgue. No one has seen or heard from my mother since. How do I go about filing a claim for unclaimed property If we have no death certificate?

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

Have you checked the state treasury office for unclaimed property? Without a death certificate, you will need to prove she died, which is not easy. Have you thought about hiring a private investigator?

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3 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Family Law for Michigan on
Q: I want to dispute Michigans intestancy laws and prove my fathers true wishes for his home, how would i do this?

My sister and I are currently in probate court battling fathers estranged wife over his home. They were in the process of divorce when he committed suicide and I have numerous divorce documents, texts, handwritten notes and witness testimonies that show she was not to have the home. We are... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Mar 2, 2022

I'm sorry to say that unless your father put his 'wishes' into a will or other testamentary document, the laws of intestacy are how his estate will be divided. His misunderstanding of dower really won't play into anything here, and if the divorce was not in process (as in filed... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Elder Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: guardianship says I need permission to move aunt out of Michigan how do I petition court?

Aunt is in nursing home in Michigan, I need to move her to Ohio. I am next of kin and have guardianship. I told the judge I wanted guardianship specifically to move her to Ohio. He said I have 4 months to do so, but paperwork states I can not move her out of state. No one is giving me the... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Feb 28, 2022

You will likely need to file a petition and order in the court that granted you guardianship.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: minor children getting money, how to make out check to them

I am the personal representative. There was a will, but it didn't mention this pension payout and the pension payout did not have a beneficiary listed. ($40,000 split between 2 children ages 7 and 9) The next of kin are minors that live with the father, who is divorced from the deceased. Since... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jan 28, 2022

You’ve asked this question before/elsewhere. You do NOT make the check payable to the father. But the father may need to create a trust or set up a conservatorship.

This is not a DIY situation. Please seek representation from a local probate attorney ASAP. There are many traps for the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: How do I fill out the "payable to" blank on estate check when the recipients are minor children?

I am the personal representative of my daughter's estate. She is divorced and I have about $40,000 to be divided equally between two minor children. When I write the check to the father from the estate account, how do I fill out the "payable to" blank? (Michigan)

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jan 24, 2022

You probably don't write the check to the father!

You need to have an attorney review the estate to make sure you're proceeding properly.

You may need to create a trust, or the father may need to open a conservatorship or a restricted bank account depending on how things...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: How do you maintain tax deferred status of pension check made out to an estate if recipients are minors?

minor children will be recipients of a lump sum pension check that will have tax deferred status, I think. Assuming the father will receive and control this money, (pension money is from divorced, deceased mother of minor children) I, as the representative will be transferring the money over. If I... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jan 9, 2022

The tax status of 'pensions' is defined by law, and with the exception of surviving spouses, you cannot defer the taxes for long. If a NATURAL PERSON is named as a beneficiary, there is a possibility of extending the tax 'window' but minimum distributions are required each year,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: If a son who is married leaves his 401K to his mother?

My son a couple years ago not sure why but, laughed and told me one day when he passed i would become a rich woman because, he had just made me beneficiary to his 401 k. i ask this because he passed from cancer recently . during a conversation with his wife who told me he had left his 401 k to... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 2, 2022

You have multiple options, but there is not enough information here to suggest the one that is optimal. My best advice would be to contact an estate planning attorney for assistance. He or she will want to take into account your age, the ages of the children, their maturity and financial acumen,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Am I correct that assets that name beneficiaries" DO NOT" pass through probate?

If I am correct how does a beneficiary uncover what happened to the assets that they were named as beneficiary on? For example abuse of process, forgery, elder abuse, etc. Also, the entity holding the assets what duty did they have to notify each beneficiary?

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Dec 22, 2021

The short answer to your direct question is 'yes'. Property with named beneficiaries does not pass through probate and is instead transferred directly to the beneficiary with the provisions in place by the asset holder (usually a request and a certified copy of the death certificate) to... Read more »

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