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Michigan Estate Planning Questions & Answers
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
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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
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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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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Michigan on
Q: My mom wants to buy a house with us and live in it with us. I want to make sure this will not be considered a "gift"?

She is offering to pay our downpayment on the house. She will live in the house with us and share living expenses. We are ok with her being listed on the mortgage and/or title to the house. Since basically this arrangement is just us going in together on a house that we will all be living in, this... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jan 29, 2021

You are wise to avoid letting your mother’s investment be characterized as a gift. There is more than one way to do this is this and they each have pros and cons and they each require some rather precise math to make sure there is no gift component. One method is the purchase of a life estate and... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: Biological father passed. Haven’t seen the will. Brother has will and states that everything is left to him and that I

am listed as living daughter. Everything going through probate. Told me there is Exempt Property Allowance that I would be entitled in Michigan half of $15,000. He doesn’t think I am entitled because my “father” never had a relationship with me. He also says that if I take this money I will... Read more »

Andrew M Steiger
Andrew M Steiger
answered on Jan 26, 2021

You don’t pay taxes on a small inheritance. Have you seen the will with your own eyes? Sounds like he is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Small Claims for Michigan on
Q: My mom passed back in October of 2020 she left three storage units behind. I moved to a different state so most of my

Stuff was in those storage unit's and my aunt offered to get my stuff for me. My sister however refuses to let me aunt into these units and is basically holding my stuff hostage. These units have to cleared by the end of this month. If I go and get my stuff myself is that illegal?

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
answered on Jan 24, 2021

It is hard to say without more information.

Whose name are those storage units in? You Mom's? Yours? Your sister's?

What documentation do you have that the stuff is 'yours'? Receipts? It is your clothing and not hers, etc?

Why do they 'have'...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: in michigan if a parent dies married to a woman other than my mother does she have the right to exclude me from everythi

there was no will and she is not allowing me access to his home . she is not forthcoming with any of his financial things or anything to do with him what are my rights?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
answered on Jan 21, 2021

These situations are always emotionally tough. But legally, yes: whomever you are legally married to when you die stands to receive the lion's share of any estate. She would also have priority for appointment as personal representative. She would be obligated to share the inventory with you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My uncle passed away and my dad is the only immediate relative left. What happens with his property now?

My uncle passed in September. My dad is the only immediate relative since his parents and other sibling have passed previously. We are told we need to go through probate to sign his property over. What are the steps needed to take when only one relative is left? Please help, from Michigan.

Don L Rosenberg
Don L Rosenberg
answered on Jan 6, 2021

If the assets/property is in your uncle's individual name the only way to obtain access is through a probate administration. If your uncle has a will then it is a road map for his estate. If not then there is a process. if there is family harmony it is an informal process. I can explain in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Can the court enforce a specific age for inheritance to be received by beneficiaries if it’s detailed in a will??

My mom passed when I was 19, and she put in her will that we are to get 1/3 of our inheritance when we turn 30, another 1/3 when we turn 35 and the remaining 1/3 when we turn 40. Does this have to be enforced? Any way around this?

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Dec 28, 2020

Yes, it's enforceable. What you are describing is not just a will, but also a trust that was created in the will (a testamentary trust). To but it bluntly, courts are going to enforce wills and trusts exactly as they are written as long as the testator/trustor had a legitimate estate planning... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My Dad left his house to his ex-wife but NOT the contents. She has already moved in before any distribution. Legal?

My Dad passed away 2 months ago and he left his house to his ex-wife. But he did Not leave her Any items In the house. She has since moved-in and is currently helping herself to everything there. The Will says the executor has 15 months to itemize and distribute the contents. Doesn't the value... Read more »

Trent Harris
Trent Harris
answered on Dec 28, 2020

You can try to plead with the ex-wife to leave the household contents in place so that the person(s) who are entitled to them can get them. But if asking doesn't work, the only way for someone to force the ex-wife to leave the household contents alone is to open probate and have a personal... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: My Aunt died this year. She had always told me there would be money for me. The Trustee, says she didn't name a

beneficiary. I am now told the trustee can actually keep all of the assests. Do I have recourse?

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Dec 17, 2020

You should hire a Michigan trust administration attorney to help you sort this out. At the very least, the attorney can write a letter to the trustee demanding a copy of the trust and an accounting. Do not delay. If you wait too long you may lose your rights as a legal matter due to the passage... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My father passed and left an estate are his children from a previous marriage entitled to a share?

My mother and father were married and had 4 kids together but when my father passed there was no will so does the estate go to his immediate family that he widowed or do the other kids have a share aswell?

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
answered on Nov 4, 2020

Your father's wife (your mother) would be entitled to the bulk of your father's estate through the spousal election. Beyond that, children are treated pretty equally regardless whether they are children of the surviving spouse, adopted, or half-blood. And so, yes, potentially your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Support, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: My biological father passed away in 2001 still owing back child support.

I'm 38 his friend that was the cosigner on his house passed july 2020. Can me and my adult sibling sue her estate for back child support Michigan since after he died it went to her they weren't married

David Soble
PREMIUM
David Soble
answered on Oct 29, 2020

This is really not a real estate matter, but more or less a divorce or family law matter.

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