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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers
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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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Hello! I am filing probate form PC 574 Notice To Creditors. I was wondering how do I fill out the bottom of the form?

The court was kind enough to name the publication - Oakland County Legal News. So far I have "Publish one time in 1.Oakland County Legal News in 2.Oakland County. Furnish #3 ??? copies to #4 ???. Furnish affidavit of publication to the probate court with copy to #5 ???. Forward statement for... Read more »

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

You should contact the probate court to determine which publication is used in your area. You should then send that form to that publication (some probate courts will do it for you).

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: If my father died with no will and there are two total children, can I finance his mortgage debt and get the house?

My father recently died and had his previous wills canceled for religious reasons but never redid them. When I went to the bank to inform them that he was deceased, they noticed that I was the beneficiary of the accounts and said that I could finance his balance due for 44K or put a full estate... Read more »

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow answered on Apr 21, 2021

Generally the assets of a decedent must be filed and managed through probate, and it would not likely be permissible to buy the house without probate. Without a will there are statutory rules regarding allocation. This is a situation where you should speak with an attorney to avoid unintentionally... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Stepson named his mom beneficiary of life ins many years ago, Got married 6 years ago but were together 17

Does his wife have any claim to the insurance?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Apr 19, 2021

Doubtful. Insurance is a contract. If his mom is beneficiary, that's to whom the money will go. Possible exception may be a cash value policy paid into during the legal marriage (not total time together).

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My minor children are due to receive life insurance from my ex husband. What do I need to file in the state of Michigan
Don L Rosenberg
Don L Rosenberg answered on Apr 13, 2021

If the proceeds of the life insurance is over $5,000 then the law requires a minors money to be managed through the probate court conservator process. You would have to appointed by the probate court as your children's conservator. You will have to account to the court how much you start with... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My dad passed away - does his will die with him and everything is inherited by my mom?

My brother has a power of attorney - it's long and lenghty

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Apr 7, 2021

Actually, quite the opposite is true: his will is now the controlling document; the power of attorney is no longer effective. You would need to see the will to see what it says about distribution. Most of the time, the will express everything go to the surviving spouse. Even if the will says... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: I am the policy holder on medical insurance and my wife passed early Feb 2021. Am I responsible for paying her copay?

Our deductible is 1500 max per family/year 750 per person/year. So hospital bill says she owes 750.00. Am I obligated to pay this 750 for her?

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

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Your wife's ESTATE is responsible for the medical bills she incurred, but unless you've signed something that would say otherwise YOU are not. This has several different ways it could play out, but you'd be well advised to seek the advice of a... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: in the state of michigan . when a parent dies without a will and his wife is incompitent . what are the childs rights

my father died with no will . his wife is incapable of making her own decisions , is it legal for HER daughter to take control of my fathers assests and cut me off completely?

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow answered on Apr 5, 2021

You'll want to contact an estate planning attorney directly, preferably in the county your father passed away in.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My parents will left everything to my brother. If my brother died prior to me everything would pass to me.

My brother died but willed the estate to someone else. Can I challenge the will?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Apr 2, 2021

Someone would need to see the language of the will, and know in what order people passed away. If your parents are deceased while your brother was alive, then all of their stuff would belong to him, and now his estate, to be distributed as he chooses. If your brother died before your parents, then... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My parents were married 16years.Divorced Decided to cohabitate,due to my brothers stroke condition.

My father suffered a major heart attack on March 16 and passed. No will. Nothing discussed. There are 6 of us children. We all agreed, that everything should go to my mother. Is there an easier way, other than probate. He had no major creditors

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

Probate is the legal means to distribute property owned by a deceased person. Unless your father held assets jointly, or had beneficiary designations on everything, then probate will be necessary. Your mom is no longer an heir or entitled to a spousal elective share, but you and your siblings can... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: How can I allow my wife to remain in my home until her death & then allow my child from a previous marriage to inherit ?
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Mar 4, 2021

Providing a 'life estate' for someone and a 'remainder interest' for a third party is a pretty common thing, and easily done by a qualified licensed attorney in your area.

This is most assuredly NOT a 'DIY' project though unless you are really willing to have...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: What are my rights as to what is legally mine when my husband passes away?

We've been married almost a year. He had a will before we married.

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Mar 3, 2021

As the legal spouse, you may claim what's called your spousal elective share, or take what's provided to you in the will (which appears to be nothing since it predates your marriage). You may also be entitled to homestead and family allowance; and of course anything jointly owned would go to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: I don't want my sister in law as my family since my brother just died. Is this legal in Michigan? If so, how do I do it?
Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow answered on Mar 3, 2021

The short answer: you'll want to speak with an estate planning attorney.

If you want to disclaim whatever rights you might have to your brother's estate, you'll need to take some affirmative steps. If you want to exclude your sister in law from your estate you might need to...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Q: Do homeowners of an estate home have to pay for essential home repairs (roof) while home is occupied rent free?
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Feb 23, 2021

This depends on how the occupancy arrangements are defined. GENERALLY speaking the life tenant is responsible for the current expenses like utilities, taxes and insurance but PRINCIPAL improvements are not required. A new roof could be seen as increasing the value rather than merely maintaining it... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Probate and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: my fiance dad is dying we cant find the recent will where he said it was can ex wife take everything

his will is not where he said it was , his ex wife from 20 yrs or more wants to use the will he made when they were married to take everything from her kids that there father is leaving them can she do that . he does a brother an 3 kids alive

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Feb 9, 2021

Ex-wife? No. A divorce severs that legal relationship. Even if she were to find that will and enter it into probate, it can be easily challenged with the judgment of divorce.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Probate, Small Claims and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: if someone is passing away an you cant find a recent will , could there ex wife take everything if she has will

he has been divorced for over 20 years we cant find the recent will she wants to take everything from his kids

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

In Michigan, statutory law provides that a divorce revokes any disposition of property made to a former spouse in a will (MCL §700.2807). However, the statutory provision only affects property given to the former spouse in the will -- it doesn't impact beneficiary designations or joint... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: my father passed away 2 days ago. no will. my brother changed locks to house. refuses to let me on the property

is it legal for him to be taking ownership yet? what are my rights? how do i get an attorney for this matter? how do you proceed to probate?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Feb 2, 2021

If your brother was the joint tenant of the house with your father, he acquired sole title upon your father's death and would be within his rights to exclude others. However, if your father was the sole owner of the house, and died intestate (meaning without a will), then his children,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Simple trust. Does the executor have to provide copies of the trust to the family? or can they not release it.

Trust basically divides the assets and then after debts are paid, divide 4 ways to the survivors. A lot of bad blood between two people/ SOme things specifically written to those to get but most was put your name on it and if more than one, the executor decides. The estate is small at about... Read more »

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow answered on Jan 30, 2021

Maybe. Is the executor the trustee and is the family or survivors beneficiaries of the trust?

MCL 700.7814 might offer an answer to your question: the trustee must "[u]pon the reasonable request of a trust beneficiary, promptly furnish to the trust beneficiary a copy of the terms of...
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