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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My house is only in my late wife’s name. Can I put the house in my name without going through probate?
Don L Rosenberg
Don L Rosenberg answered on Sep 8, 2021

First my condolences on the loss of your wife. Unfortunately not. However, you can file an application for probate with or without a will. You will be appointed personal representative to manage your wife's affairs. if there are no objections or complications the probate should be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Executor sold estate house to bro. Executor and 1 other brother got paid. So brother can flip house.

Leaving me and my 2 sons out of the what will states. More. 2 1/2 yrs. Had an attorney for 2 yrs, got all discovery, to then in 5 minutes got taken away because attorney wasn't filing subpoenas with court. Tried representing self,for now I'm in debt with fees. Between estate lawyer and... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Aug 13, 2021

It sounds like you already had an attorney that you fired/didn't pay? Without seeing ALL the paperwork and doing the research on this long case, it is impossible to provide any real guidance. I would suggest either going back to the attorney you had, or if you believe he did something improper... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Dad passed on 05/01/2021. Can the wife of 30 years play favorites to the beneficiaries? My dad made a Will in 2004.

Dad deceased 05/01/2021; he did a Will in 2004 naming his 4 children as beneficiaries; upon the wife selling the home his last wishes were to give each one of us (his 4 children) $20,000. But after selling the home she only gave 2 of the children $20, 000 and did not give the other two children... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Aug 12, 2021

This is a very fact-dependent situation. If your dad and his wife owned the house as joint tenants, then it's sale is not subject to the terms of the will. Once your dad passed, the house became his wife's by operation of law, for her to do with as she pleases. She effectively made gifts... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: I own my home outright in MI. I'm 70, want to leave it to my wife and 2 sons. My name is the only one on the deed.

Can I just add their names to the deed. I hear a living trust cost $2500. Wouldn't adding their names be the cheapest easiest way?

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Aug 3, 2021

There are far less expensive and more appropriate ways to accomplish your pal, but ‘just putting their name on the deed’ is not one of them.

Please consult with a local estate planning attorney to review ‘ladybird’ deeds or other options. Sometimes a will us counterintuitively...
Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Purchase agreement signed and homeowner passed away. House was in a trust. Given to one trustee as a life estate.

In the process of buying a home. Trustee passed away after purchase agreement signed. Other trustee alive. Home was given as life estate to the one that passed. Trust stated he could sell and had to share profit with any living trustees. (Sister gets 1/3). Is the purchase agreement still valid?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 30, 2021

The most likely outcome is the successor trustee is contractually bound to complete the sale of the house and distribute the proceeds in accordance with the terms of the trust.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Michigan on
Q: am I able to change the beneficiary on a pre-tax IRA after the account holder has passed. My father lived in NC.

my siblings and I are beneficiary of one of my dad's IRAs, we want to make his surviving wife the sole beneficiary. can we do that and have the IRA still be pre-tax.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 22, 2021

It is possible that if all of the decedent's children disclaim that the account would then go to his surviving spouse. But that depends on other factors, including exactly how the beneficiary designation was worded and whether there were contingent beneficiaries after the children. You... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Michigan inheritance law

I’m an only child my father has lived with a woman for 20+yrs, they never married. If he died how would his assets be distributed? We all live in Michigan, all of his assets are located in Michigan. Most of the stuff he owns is solely in his name.

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jul 9, 2021

If there is no spouse but there are surviving children the children inherit property that is in the deceased’s name only under Michigan law. But there needs to be private and that needs to be done promptly and properly.

Your father needs to think about his estate planning and create a...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: How to create a revocable living trust in Michigan
Kimberly Redd
Kimberly Redd answered on Jul 5, 2021

In drafting a revocable trust in Michigan, I typically start with my client's goals. Some clients just want a simple revocable trust that simply transfers property in a certain after their death while others want to direct how money and property is to be managed after their gone. Typically,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Michigan on
Q: How do I remove myself as alternate or substitute agent from both financial and healthcare Power of Attorney documents?

This is in the State of Michigan.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 4, 2021

There are two ways to do this. The first way is to inform the maker of those instruments that you are not willing to serve and ask that he or she revoke the existing instruments and make new ones. If that is not possible, then you can simply decline to serve. This should be done in writing and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Disposition of remains

If a man left specific instructions on his funeral with an unrelated trustee and purchased a cemetery plot before he died, but he did not leave any written instructions, can a daughter change his plans?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Jun 26, 2021

Michigan has a funeral representative statute. If the specific instructions conform to that statute, than the trustee makes the decisions. If there is a dispute, the funeral home make require a probate court order - particularly if the dispute is between burial or cremation. If the dispute is about... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for Michigan on
Q: Mom is in the hospital in California and wants to do a ladybird deed for her house in Michigan how do we proceed?
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Jun 21, 2021

You should have a Michigan attorney draft the deed, and then somehow, your mother will need to sign it before a California notary.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: How do I correct a misspelled name in my Will, Power of Attorney and Health Advocacy paperwork?

Last name of my second sole personal representative (my niece) is misspelled. Can it be corrected or do I need all new documents?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jun 9, 2021

You can replace all of those documents with new, corrected ones, of course, and that is the BEST solution. If that is not practical, then consider a same name affidavit to connect the dots between the misspelled name and the correctly spelled name.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: If someone is in business with his brother and one of them die does that person share goes to his wife automatic?
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on May 27, 2021

This depends a lot on the estate plans put in place and whether or not there is a buy-sell agreement or other 'key personnel' provisions in that business.

You NEED to take all the relevant documents to a local attorney ASAP to review and give you actual legal advice. The answer...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: If someone is in business with his brother and one of them die does that person share goes to his wife automatic?
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on May 27, 2021

Yes, unless there are estate planning or business agreement documents to the contrary.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Child Custody for Michigan on
Q: Can children removed from custody ,still have rights to a WILL if their mom was left something in it ?

Mom died left everything to her two daughters and one daughter had her children legally taken away . That daughter died ..Does her children still have rights In the WILL because it says if daughter is not alive it goes to her children ..but for the record the WILL was wrote in 1999 before her... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on May 26, 2021

Do you know whether the daughter's parental rights were terminated or if she just did not have legal custody? If her rights were terminated, then no, her kids would not inherit from your mom as termination of parental rights severs kinship; if the daughter just lost legal custody (e.g. the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Dad passed. Dad and his wife quit claimed deed their home to children. Deed is recorded. Can she change deed?
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on May 24, 2021

A lawyer would need to see the actual recorded deed because the way you phrase the question leads to two possible answers:

-if mom and dad quit claimed the house to the children, then NO, mom can't change the deed because the house isn't hers anymore (dad passing, then, has...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: How to get my sister name off the title and mortgage. She is dieing and she will not sign a paper give me the house.

Her name is only for work weeks when we signed on the house. She pays no bills. My name is also on the house title and mortgage and I'm the one who pays the mortgage.

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on May 14, 2021

You cannot force someone to give or sell property. If her name is the only one in the mortgage/deed she will need to voluntarily sell (‘sign off’) the property or you will need to probate the property after she passes. The real issue here is that if there’s a mortgage that will complicate... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: I inherited an irrevocable trust when my mother died in Sep. 2020. My sister is the executor. But I have no paperwork

I would like to use it as a down payment on a house. However I have no details about the size of the trust or how to ask for some of the money. What paperwork does the trustee or executor have to provide to the beneficiary,?

Thank you

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on May 6, 2021

It depends on the terms of the trust.

But you SHOULD be able to get a copy of the trust. If indeed you actually are the beneficiary. The trust itself will contain the terms of what you’re able to ask for and how to make the request.

If you don’t understand the terms of the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Michigian I'm one of 2 trustee of moms estate she's in a home. I took possession of my late fathers cars.

Is this ok?

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow answered on May 3, 2021

Possession/safekeeping is maybe fine. But there is no simple answer with the information provided, you might need to ask again, or contact an attorney directly.

Generally, when there are two trustee's there is a 'decision tree' and process to follow, second your mother's...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My father died a couple of years ago and I am skeptical about the will. How can I obtain a copy?

He made very good money and spoke with me about his will and how things were to be divided. My step mother claims he left us nothing. He lived in Arkansas.

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Apr 29, 2021

Each state is different, but your best bet would be to contact the probate court in the county he lived in to see if they have a will on file.

Just be advised that most states' laws would allow for the majority of a person's estate to go to the spouse regardless of what a will...
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