Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers

Q: Want to start a Property Management Company in MI where I would purchase & rent the properties. What's required?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Business Formation and Business Law for Michigan on
Answered on Jan 27, 2019
Trent Harris' answer
Business savvy and real estate management experience would be a good start. If you have those, you will be exposed to the various ownership entities real estate investors use to acquire and operate rental properties. You would have agreements and requirements for various independent contractors and trades who will work at your buildings to maximize the quality and accountability of their work, make sure they carry appropriate insurance coverages which contain additional insureds designations in...

Q: How do I protect my personal equipment & property from being inventoried & claimed as my Dads trust personal property?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Jan 23, 2019
Trent Harris' answer
I’ll try to make this brief. If your disgruntled brothers lawyer up and you don’t, yes as to #1 and maybe as to #3. If you lawyer up, the answers are the same but you will have a better chance of it. Here’s my take:

You said that the three of you owned the real estate as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. You do not state whether the land was placed in the trust or not. For my answer, I will assume that it was not. If mom and dad have both passed away and the real estate...

Q: What kind of Lawyer do I need to set up DAV and VFW along with any surviving nieces and nephews as beneficiaries?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Jan 21, 2019
Brent T. Geers' answer
Are you trying to establish a post chapter as a nonprofit? If you're wanting to set up a DAV or VFW post, you need to coordinate with those organizations as you'll need a charter from them to proceed. If you want to set up your own nonprofit, you may, but nonprofits cannot have individual beneficiaries - any remaining proceeds would need to be donated to a legitimate nonprofit.

Q: What can a lawyer do to get the tax returns for a beneficiary of a trust. My sister was POA since 2012 we have no tax re

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Jan 18, 2019
Trent Harris' answer
A person who is a qualified beneficiary of a trust in Michigan does have the right to obtain certain information about the trust. The fact that you have not received any information from your sister may mean that you are not a qualified beneficiary. Also, it does not necessarily mean that your sister has done anything wrong. If you would like to know more about your specific situation, you should contact a qualified lawyer to look over your unique facts and circumstances.

Q: My sister had POA for my nana's trust in 2012 she has not given all documents as to an inventory list or where the mone

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Answered on Jan 18, 2019
Kelli Y Allen's answer
You are going to need to hire and estate planning or elder law attorney to assist with this matter.

Q: Can a daughter who was given DPOA for her Father be given the authority too change her fathers Will without him?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Jan 14, 2019
Trent Harris' answer
No. The ability to make a person’s will can’t be delegated. But if the language of the DPOA allows for it, a DPOA could allow for a trust to be made instead, which could achieve the same goals.

As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on information you get from internet discussion boards such as this one.

Q: My father passed and all he has is debt - as his only kid am I on the hook for them?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Dec 6, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
No. Not unless you were a co-signer on the debt with him.

As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on information you get from internet discussion boards such as this one.

Q: if property listed in a trust is sold prior to owner's death, does the requested division of proceeds still apply?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Answered on Dec 3, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
That’s probably right. The account would only be divided according to the terms of the trust if the account were owned by the trust. If the account was in the name of the person who died, not the trust, then the trust didn’t own it and the account passes according to the terms of the account (if it’s TOD or has a payable-on-death beneficiary), or under the person’s will. If the person did not have a will, then the account will pass according to the laws of intestacy.

As always,...

Q: My parents put in their will that I'm not entitled to anything if I convert religions. Is that enforceable?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Nov 9, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
Probably. Michigan law recognizes advancement of a particular religion as a legitimate interest that estate planning can provide for. For example, the factors for best interests of a minor consider a guardian's ability to continue raising a child in the child's religion or creed, if any. And charitable trusts in Michigan can have as their goal the advancement of a particular religion. Because an estate plan is a private agreement made by individuals, it does not implicate the separation of...

Q: If my mom remarries but doesn't update her will afterwards, will her new husband be entitled to anything?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Oct 26, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
Yes, but not under your mother's will. If mom passes away while still married to new husband, new husband would have certain rights to mom's property under Michigan law, such as to homestead, family, and exempt property allowances. New husband could also claim an elective share against the will. So yes, he would be entitled to some things.

As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on any...

Q: What's the difference between a healthcare directive and a power of attorney?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Oct 13, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
A healthcare directive gives someone else the power to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so for yourself. In Michigan, it’s called a Patient Advocate Designation.

On the other hand, a power of attorney gives someone else the power to make financial decisions for you, whether you are unable to do so for yourself (durable springing power) or you are able, but want the other person to have the power too (concurrent non-springing power).

As always, you get...

Q: Can a funeral home hold a death certificate until payment?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 25, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
If the funeral home obtained/paid for it and hasn’t been paid for the funeral, yes. But you can get a death certificate of your own from the vital records section of your County Clerk’s office. You will need to pay a small fee to obtain the record.

As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to the qualified attorney about your specific situation, before choosing to rely on any information you get from Internet discussion boards, such as this one.

Q: Can a devisee be removed from the Will due to a physical altercation with an heir and vandalizing the home?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Elder Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
The detail is not relevant to the question, and no, because there was an altercation you can't change the terms of the will. You MAY be able to make a claim against the heir, and attach a portion of the inheritance to pay for that claim, but you need to do that properly and the BEST way to insure that happens is to consult with a local estate / probate attorney to be sure you, as Personal Representative, have legal representation, follow the rules, and don't get yourself into a bigger pickle by...

Q: Can a life estate be revoked once a lien is placed on the property?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
What sort of 'life estate' are we talking about? A 'ladybird deed' or a traditional 'life estate'? You need to take that deed to the lawyer who created it (Your parents DID use a lawyer right?) and ask the specific questions to see if there are 'fixes' that can be made.

IDEALLY if this were a ladybird deed rather than a 'life estate' deed things can be done that will protect the property. If they tried to do this themselves and picked the wrong form, all bets are off. Again, bottom...

Q: I am the healthcare POA for my married sister, the paperwork is completed and signed by a witness. Legally, can the

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
When was the paperwork signed? Before or after marriage? Signed by ONE witness? TWO? Notarized? The form matters and so does how it was signed. If your sister didn't do this with an attorney you're playing with fire trying to rely on this! If she DID use an attorney, that attorney can perhaps best answer these questions. That said ....

MUCH of this will depend on what your sister's doctors know or don't know as it is 'common' for the spouse to be consulted if the patient cannot make...

Q: I am in the process of buying an acre of wooded land in Michigan. Is it a good idea to get a quit claim deed at closing?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 5, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
If you want your sisters to inherit the land after you pass, you should talk to a lawyer about having something like an enhanced life estate deed prepared, or a will. A quit claim deed at closing isn’t going to do what you’d like to do, since the difference between quit claim deed and warranty deed is the guarantee of good title that is made with the transfer.

Q: I filed bankruptcy how long can I live in the home without making payments before being foreclosed upon

3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 2, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
Default under a mortgage gives the lender the right to foreclose. The lender will file a motion for relief from the bankruptcy stay, and then they can go forward with the foreclosure. How long this takes before they do this depends on the lender.

As always, this is an answer to a hypothetical using limited information. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before taking any action.

Q: Can a devisee be removed from the Will due to a physical altercation with an heir and vandalizing the home?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Elder Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Answered on Aug 30, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
No, a devisee can’t be removed from the Will due to a physical altercation with an heir and vandalizing the home. But the estate could have a claim against the devisee for the damage done, which could be used to offset money the devisee would otherwise receive from the estate.

As always, this is an answer to a hypothetical. Make sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before moving forward.

Q: My father died my sister was his executor and legal guardian we were both named in his will that was never probated.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Answered on Aug 28, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
It depends on how the money was spent. If the money in the account was spent on your father's funeral and burial expenses, expenses of last illness, and other expenses related to his passing, there probably is nothing to be done. Those funds have priority under Michigan law and come out of the estate first, so if there is nothing left for the estate after that, that does not appear improper unless the spending was extravagant and wasteful.

On the other hand, if sister spent the money on...

Q: Parent died without will. Retirement fund to be distributed between 4 adult children, can 1 child refuse the money?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Aug 28, 2018
Trent Harris' answer
It's possible. But not all retirement plans will allow disclaimers. Those that do may require the disclaimer to be made on a form that they provide, acceptable to the retirement plan. Also, the disclaimer needs to be made within a certain time of when the parent passed away, otherwise the disclaimer would not be recognized as valid.

If the other 3 adult children would still like the social security sibling to have the benefit of the money, they might consider setting up a special needs...

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