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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Can my stepfather get reimbursement from brothers estate if he paid brothers debts prior to my brothers death
Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Feb 26, 2020

Possibly. He would probably need to be able to show that the payments were a loan to your brother, and not a gift. Also, stepfather would need to file a statement and proof of claim in brother's estate. For further assistance, consult with a probate attorney in your area.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: my dad died recently, I am the only son,. I have two sisters We only have a property trust, for a will . Am i entitled

to my dads guns, jewelry, shaver , and things like that

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Feb 18, 2020

What does the 'trust/will' say about this? Because you are the only son it does NOT mean you're entitled to specific items unless there is a will that says so. And without seeing the documents it is impossible to answer these sorts of questions.

Gather up the paperwork, and seek the advice...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Probate and Life Insurance

My mother in law had a 50K life insurance police she passed in November and my father-in-law was the beneficiary. He died 43 days later before the policy paid out (check just came) does the money go into probate or go to the children?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Feb 11, 2020

The money belongs to your father in law's estate. How the money goes from there depends on whether he had a will or other estate planning done, or if he died intestate. For further information, consult with a probate attorney in your area.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My mother passed away in 2016 and my mother and brother are on the deed to her home as tenants in common.

We had a lawyer try and do a small estate as the estate value was less than the $22000 allowed in Michigan but it was denied, Would that be because my brother is also on the deed it has to go to probate?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Feb 6, 2020

Possibly. When real estate is involved, it will either need to be probated or dealt with using a petition and order for assignment. The procedure used by your lawyer may not have been the correct one to use. But to be sure, you should get a consult with a probate attorney in your area who can... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My husbands parents passed away, no will and no one named as executor.

He has 1 sister and 1 brother. They want me to be executor as I have experience (I’ve done this before). Sister does not agree with them and does not want me to do it. If the 2 brothers agree and sister does not, what do we do?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Feb 4, 2020

The 2 brothers who do agree should sign renunciations of their right to seek appointment of personal representative, and in the renunciations they have the right to nominate you instead. You would file an application or petition to be appointed personal representative, with notice to all interested... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Tax Law for Michigan on
Q: My mother passed away in 2013. All debts were paid and inventory done. Went through probate and all heirs were properl

distributed.. My inherited home (only) remained in the estate until I sold it in 2020 with permission from the court. Must I file taxes for the last six years for the estate? There was a little over 100k gained. Do I have to pay taxes on the sale? I did have to open an estate account recently for... Read more »

D. Mathew Blackburn
D. Mathew Blackburn answered on Feb 3, 2020

An estate is required to file a retuen any year it has $600 or more in income.

The property sale is reportable. It'll depend on the gain on sale whether it's taxable. It sounds like the estate sold the property 6 years after date of death so you'll likely have some gain on sale. I'd suggest...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Will I have a legal right to my mother's assets if she dies before my stepdad?

I am my mom's only biological child and my stepdad has 3 kids (all adults). My stepdad is the beneficiary of her life insurance and all assets are jointly owned. My stepdad said that when he passes I would get a portion of what they owned and would be split amongst the 4 of the children. Would I... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 1, 2020

The outcome you want will not happen automatically. The only way to guarantee such an outcome would be for your mother to see an experienced estate planning attorney and have a proper estate plan drawn up that protects your inheritance.

The scenario that you worry about is common in...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: I am trustee of my recently deceased father's living trust. I am trying to gain access to his bank account.

The account is listed in the trust but no beneficiaries are listed. I have the trust in hand with all notarized documents and the death certificate. The Bank is telling me that I need a letter of authority to get access to the funds. There is nothing on file at the Van Buren County probate Court.... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jan 27, 2020

You do not need letters of authority. That is for a probate estate. If the bank account was already owned by the trust, then what you likely need is a signed acceptance of successor trustee, showing that you have taken over as trustee and accept your obligations as trustee of the trust. The exact... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: If everything is out of a Irrevocable trust, does it have to be closed out or does it stay open forever.
Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jan 21, 2020

If I understand your question, you're asking what happens to an irrevocable trust if it no longer has any assets? The trust normally could be closed, unless the trust might obtain property or money in the future (for example, if the trust is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, or of another... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: i am 16 with a kid, i have a job and can take care of me and my kid, does anyone know anyone who will consider renting?

i’m trying to find my own place for me and my baby and i can financially afford a low income place, i just need help going in the right direction with someone who will rent to a 16 year old.

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jan 21, 2020

You could be having a problem finding a place that will rent to you because you are not legally an adult. Contracts with minors can be disaffirmed by the minor, and are thus voidable. Not many people will want to lend money or do transactions for significant money if there is a risk that you could... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Landlord - Tenant and Probate for Michigan on
Q: I am a grandchild who has a verbal agreement to rent and eventually be gifted the home from my grandparent.

My grandparent died recently, which is over six months after I moved into the house. My mom is his trustee/executor, and he lived in her house when he died. What is my right to the home now. My mother is aware of the verbal agreement, but she has two other siblings. Do I have to move out; what... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Jan 5, 2020

You may have tenant rights as a renter, meaning though that you could be asked to move out with 30 days' notice. Unless all heirs are in agreement that you should get the house, you don't have much legal standing for that. The verbal agreement to gift you the house may not mean much (verbal... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: I live in Michigan and my girlfriend has been living with me and we have decided to break up.

A couple of months ago she bought new appliances for the kitchen. Does she have any legal right to those appliances? There is no lease agreement and she doesn't pay rent.

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Dec 9, 2019

Generally speaking, appliances are personal property, and as such, they belong to the person who bought them. An exception to this rule might be if the appliance was permanently affixed or installed. For example, was the appliance physically fastened to the studs, floor, etc., and perhaps... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Michigan on
Q: Where can I obtain a quick deed to redo paperwork for my house
Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Nov 12, 2019

My advice would be for you to contact a real estate attorney in your area. Deeds are legal documents which, if not drafted correctly, can result in problems in the chain of title and can affect your ability to get financing for your property, or your ability to sell or convey the property later.... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: I was looking for clarification on how a last will and testament works and what an executor can actually do and not do.

My father recently passed in August. He had a total of 5 children including myself. He left one of my sisters as his executor. I have received a copy of his will but I do not really understand it. It seems very broad just states everything he has is to be equally divided between the 5 of us. Well I... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Nov 4, 2019

Generally, the executor has discretion to determine shares if the method of dividing the property isn't specified in the will. If you have concerns that your father's property is not being handled properly or fairly, you could file a petition for supervised administration with the probate court.... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My mom has a will but no assets other than cash in a joint account with me as the other account holder.

Her will dictates equal division of any assets. May I simply give cash to each of my siblings after paying any remaining bills?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Nov 3, 2019

Yes! But understand that by doing that, you would actually be gifting your siblings money that belongs to you, at least legally. Assets that pass by operation of law or by contract (such as under a Joint bank account) pass outside the will - they are not assets of the probate estate. You would not... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: How long can my children and I continue To live my grandmothers home when no will or trust was filed?

My kids and I moved in with my grandmother 4 years ago so she could stay at home instead of a nursing home. We split expenses I was her 24/7 caregiver and companion. Grandma told our family she wanted me to have the house But she passed but died before she could make a will.

its only been... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 19, 2019

If none of your grandma's heirs at law complain, you are not at any immediate risk of being ejected. Her heirs at law are most likely her living children plus the children of any deceased children, so unless your parent that was your grandma's child is deceased, you are not an heir at law.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Health Care Law and Social Security for Michigan on
Q: If a person on SSI/medicaid wanted to go on a cruise, are they able to pay for their caretaker's ticket without penalty?

I'm physically disabled from brain cancer. I require a wheelchair, receive SSI/Medicaid and have a registered in-home caretaker from the state of Michigan. I would like to go on a cruise, but it would be necessary that my caretaker come along with me. Can I pay for their ticket and have it count... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 26, 2019

The $10,000 inheritance is disqualifying income in the month of receipt. There is not much you can do about that. If you still have that money on hand on the first day of the following month, sitting in a regular ol' checking account, for example, it will be a countable asset and that will again... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: is there a time limit between TOD and the passing of the owner?

If the TOD was signed seven days prior to the account owner passing, would there be reason for dispute?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Sep 26, 2019

If you mean "can a Transfer On Death designation (TOD) on a bank account or brokerage account expire due to the passage of time after it is signed?", then

the answer is no.

As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney in your...
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2 Answers | Asked in Civil Rights, Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My husbands dad passed away last year. His wife their step mom has the house. A niece came into the picture and took poa

They moved her to Mississippi. Now the niece is refusing to let my husband and his brother into the house to get their dads personal stuff. She even sent a detailed email stating we could go in. Then called and retracted the email verbally. What are the rights of my husband and his brother. If any,

Gary Kollin
Gary Kollin answered on Sep 20, 2019

No attorney can opine without reviewing the will

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My Mother Died in May 9th and my Step-father Died in September 14th before finishing/starting her estate.

Now step-dad's biological child(one of the two he has) is saying us step-kids get nothing because 100% of moms estate goes to spouse(step-dad) and now we are not entitled to his estate as step-children. Is this true? It seems like my moms estate should be settled first which we are heirs of, then... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 19, 2019

It sounds like your mom and step-dad had none of their own children. In other words, she had her children (you and your full siblings) and he had his children (the step-children in relation to you). And your mom did not have a will.

In that case, under Michigan law your step-dad should...
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