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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: What the average time to open an estate in Michigan? We sent the retainer fee in March of 2019 and nothing was filed as

Of May of 2019. I reached out to the attorney to get updates. In fact, nothing was done until I called. I just received a detailed bill with all the calls and emails. It seems odd that my attorney waited so long. Almost as though she forgot about the case until I called. Is this typical?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Jun 18, 2019

An attorney cannot open an estate without the necessary information, which must come from the client. If you provided all information when you paid the retainer, then I'm not sure what happened. Regardless, it's a question to ask the attorney. Ordinarily, an estate can be opened (e.g. obtaining... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My ex husband passed away during a search at the Wayne County clerks office they found that we are not divorced.

In the event of my husband's passing she was to sell the house and give all proceeds to his son. I'm not on the title of the house but since I am still married to him I have rights as his wife to put this in probate. She agreed and signed a contract to that effect. Since she has stated she will... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jun 14, 2019

First, it depends on how the property was titled, i.e. whether you are on the title too and if so, how you hold title with your deceased ex, i.e. as tenants by the entireties, joint tenants, or tenants in common. Second, it depends on how far you got in your divorce. Did you try to divorce, and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: For Michigan - My Uncle passed away 5/13/2017 without a Will. He had a mobile home and a car. Only worth Ten Thousand.

His adult kids live out of state & are next of kin. His daughter has stage 4 breast cancer and fighting for her life. She said she isn't interested and has no intention to fill out forms to get titles transferred from deceased Uncle's name. His son has no interest or intention either. The Mobile... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jun 7, 2019

In short, yes. The persons entitled to an estate can all agree in writing to change the distribution of the estate, so it passes other than as would be dictated by a will or the laws of intestate succession. They can also renounce their right to be appointed personal representative, and nominate... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: A widow can't find her husband's stock certificate. To replace it the stock company requires certification from probate.

The decedent lived in Wayne County, MI. The Stock is worth approximately $2,500. He never updated beneficiary forms and the stock company needs to see that the widow is named the personal representative or see a small estate affidavit in order to transfer the ownership of the stock to her. Before... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jun 4, 2019

#1: It shouldn't be necessary to open a full-fledged probate estate. First, widow could try using SCAO form pc598, Affidavit of Decedent's Successor for Delivery of Certain Assets Owned by Decedent (see MCL 700.3983). That might work if stock company will accept it. Or, if stock company will not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: We have completed our will and have divided our assets to our children equally. How do we complete a lady bird will ?
Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jun 4, 2019

A lady bird will is a lady bird won't, and don't.

What it sounds like you are talking about is a lady bird deed, otherwise known in Michigan as an enhanced life estate deed. A lady bird deed conveys a life estate, which is the right to possess and use property during one's lifetime, along...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Parents giving me Power of Attorney. Do I need an agreement for each or one agreement with both names?
Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jun 3, 2019

I suppose it's legally possible, at least in theory, for one power of attorney agreement to be used for two people. But the custom is to have one agreement for each person. If you had a POA agreement with two people on it, you might run into trouble getting it honored by banks, financial... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Landlord - Tenant and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My mother passed intestate. She left an old mobile home that was never transferred in her name. Am I responsible for it?

It's in a seasonal campground and the park owner wants it renovated, removed or demolished. I want nothing to do with it. Also, the park owner misplaced my mother's lease. Can I take the belongings and walk away?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on May 25, 2019

So you’re saying you don’t think there is a certificate of title saying your mother owned the trailer. Or, she leased it and didn’t own it.

If that is truly the case, then the trailer didn’t legally belong to your mother. It would not be property of her estate, but the estate could...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: How long will 4 heirs wait if selling estate to 5th heir on "land contract"?

The will says sell & divide equally. 4 heirs willing to sell to 5th heir, but she doesn't qualify for a loan. Selling on a "land contract", how long will the other 4 wait for their inheritance?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on May 18, 2019

A land contract is usually paid a little at a time. First, there’s a down payment. Second, there are monthly payments for most of the balance over time. Third, there’s usually a bigger lump sum payment due several (3-10) years later. When a land contract is made, the buyer has a vendee’s... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: I'm the personal representative in my mother's estate how do I have the deed to the house change the my name

The house is worth less than $22,000 and I closed all the estate yesterday

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Apr 24, 2019

Assuming you were in informal probate, assuming you have letters of authority that are unrestricted as to your powers, and assuming you're the heir/devisee who is entitled to inherit the house, then you could sign a personal representative's deed conveying the house from the estate to yourself. The... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Legal Malpractice and Probate for Michigan on
Q: I paid a lawyer $10,000.00 to go to probate court and before I could get all the information my father passed away.

He did 2 lady bird deeds and filed them and said they had started to work on the petition but a court date was never gotten. I am not sure how to approach him about this issue since he really didn't do what he was hired for and how I ask for a partial refund.

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Apr 8, 2019

Direct communication is best. But first, review any engagement agreement you or your father signed with the lawyer. Depending on what exactly was to happen, your father's passing may have frustrated the process. Most lawyers want to be fair.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Can a rental place denie me a living based on my income in michigan I am homeless because of this.

The Fair housing act say they can not discriminate against me i been disabile most of my life. I lost my house to the city can you help

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Mar 21, 2019

You're right that a landlord can't discriminate against you based on your disability. But, a landlord can refuse to rent to you based on your income. If you are on disability, your income may qualify you for subsidized housing or government housing assistance. Try reaching out to the public housing... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Can my stepmother put my deceased fathers' assets in her name after probate court grants her personal representative?

My father died without a will. Most of his assets are solely in his name. The house, vehicles, property, etc. She plans to continue living in the home. If and when she decides to sell the home or if she dies- do her children inherit everything?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Feb 18, 2019

Under Michigan law in the situation you describe the surviving spouse gets the first $100,000, plus 1/2 of the rest of your father’s estate. The remaining 1/2 goes to children of the decedent.

If and when the stepmom dies, her share of your father’s estate would go to whoever she...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Business Formation and Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Want to start a Property Management Company in MI where I would purchase & rent the properties. What's required?
Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jan 27, 2019

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: How do I protect my personal equipment & property from being inventoried & claimed as my Dads trust personal property?

I purchased land with my Dad & Mom 20+ years ago as joint tenants w/ rights of survivorship. My Bros didn’t want to buy in. I built my home on it, they lived in town, we bought equipment - tractor, plow, disc, etc. Sometimes we split equip costs but we also purchased separately. My Dad listed... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jan 23, 2019

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...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: What kind of Lawyer do I need to set up DAV and VFW along with any surviving nieces and nephews as beneficiaries?
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Jan 21, 2019

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... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
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

she has not given any tax returns or inventory and now want to close trust.

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jan 18, 2019

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... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
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

money went she is trying to close the trust but I want to see Tax Returns she wont give them

Kelli Y Allen
Kelli Y Allen answered on Jan 18, 2019

You are going to need to hire and estate planning or elder law attorney to assist with this matter.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Can a daughter who was given DPOA for her Father be given the authority too change her fathers Will without him?
Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Jan 14, 2019

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...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My father passed and all he has is debt - as his only kid am I on the hook for them?
Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Dec 6, 2018

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.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: if property listed in a trust is sold prior to owner's death, does the requested division of proceeds still apply?

The property sold 5 months prior to death and proceeds were deposited in a "household account". We are being told account was not part of the trust and therefore proceeds should not be divided equally as indicated in the trust.

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Dec 3, 2018

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... Read more »

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