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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

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

Trent Harris answered on Nov 9, 2018

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

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

Trent Harris answered on Oct 26, 2018

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

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

Trent Harris answered on Oct 13, 2018

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...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

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

We need a copy before we get any money

Trent Harris answered on Sep 25, 2018

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....
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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Elder Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on

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

My dad left his home to three heirs and a devisee (I'm a heir/personal representative of the estate). One heir and the devisee got into a fight and the police had to be called. The police had the devisee leave the home. The next day, the devisee and her mother returned to the home and broke in,... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi answered on Sep 18, 2018

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... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on

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

State of Michigan. My parents have placed their home into a life estate, with my sister and I as grantees. The documents are all completed, signed and filed with the county.

The problem is that my sister has a substantial civil judgment against her and now her name is on the property.... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi answered on Sep 18, 2018

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...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

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

husband supercede this?

Kenneth V Zichi answered on Sep 18, 2018

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on

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?

I want my two sisters to inherit the land. The title company will provide a warranty deed at closing. Should I also get a quit claim deed at that time so as to avoid probate?

Trent Harris answered on Sep 5, 2018

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... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Estate Planning for Michigan on

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

I live in michigan.

Trent Harris answered on Sep 2, 2018

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...
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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Elder Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on

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

My dad left his home to three heirs and a devisee (I'm a heir/personal representative of the estate). One heir and the devisee got into a fight and the police had to be called. The heir was asked if she wanted them to take her to jail, but she said no, just have her leave the home. The next day,... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Aug 30, 2018

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,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on

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

She said she had spent all the money in his account and therefore there was nothing left to share what is my recourse?

Trent Harris answered on Aug 28, 2018

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... Read more »

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