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Michigan Probate Questions & Answers

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

Q: A non-attorney in my neighborhood has been advertising her services to draft estate documents

She's offering what I believe to be legal advice. I specifically asked her if she was a lawyer and she said no, and is offering what I believe to be legal advice. Should she be drafting estate documents as a non-lawyer? In her exact words she "has been producing wills, powers of attorney,... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 14, 2019

Contact the State Bar of Michigan at (517) 346-6300.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: Found a typed will in my stepdads belongings, he signed but there are no witness signatures. Is it legal?

My stepdad, passed away a few months ago. Recently we were cleaning out his rental when we came across a typed “will and testament” that he signed and dated. It names an executer and beneficiaries, but doesn’t have witness signatures. Is it legal?

Andrew M Steiger answered on Aug 12, 2019

It is possible to probate a will in Michigan that does not comply with the minimum will standards, including the witness signatures, if you can establish by clear and convincing evidence that the decedent intended the document to be his will.

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: My great uncle passed away with no will. His house and account will be split among his surviving nieces and nephews.

What's the split in Michigan if 3 of the nieces and nephews are deceased with surviving children

Trent Harris answered on Aug 7, 2019

"The split" going to each heir depends on how many nieces and nephews there were total, and how many living nieces and nephews there were at your great uncle's death. It also depends on how many living children of nieces and nephews were alive at your great uncle's death. The rules that apply are... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Landlord - Tenant, Probate and Small Claims for Michigan on

Q: My mother passed away with no will. As her daughter, am I now responsible for her mobile home?

It is located in a seasonal campground where she paid a monthly lot rent. The trailer was never registered in her name, but she signed a lease in 2012. The owner is taking me to small claims court for the rent and cleanup fees. She says my mother added my name to the rental agreement, but I've... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Jul 26, 2019

No, you shouldn't be responsible for your mother's debts because you are her heir. And if you didn't sign a lease and never occupied the property, then you shouldn't be responsible for the lease either. If you paid rent for a while, that doesn't necessarily mean you became obligated to continue... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: How can I see if my parents left a will and if me and my sister are a part of it What information will I need and

Where would I go to find that out I’m in the state of Michigan

Andrew M Steiger answered on Jul 15, 2019

There are a few options that may work. Often times a child of a deceased parent will have to go through the parent’s records and files at the parent’s home to find the will. Another option may be a safety deposit box at the parent’s bank. The existence of a safety deposit box may be found... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: Father died in 2008. Lawyer brother handled probate in 2009. Did not notify siblings. Do we have recourse?

Mother died in 2016. Dad’s probate was revealed in 2018 in handling mom’s estate. Judge did not catch/stop our brother’s dishonesty. What can we do?

Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jun 28, 2019

Without further facts it is impossible to say what is appropriate at this point, but what can be said is you've got to act quickly, and it may already be too late for some courses of action (there is a 'six months from discovery' statute of limitations for some actions).

The facts needed...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: I did filed my own probate paperwork for my fathers estate. I closed the estate before I deeded the house back to me.

I am the sole heir and have a will. I am trying to refinance the property and having a hard time. Do I have to reopen probate and record the deed?

Kenneth V Zichi answered on Jun 26, 2019

The 'hard time' is not surprising since you don't own the house you're trying to 'refinance'. Yes, you need to reopen the probate in order to have authority to record a deed from the estate to the heirs.

Whether or not YOU have a will is not relevant, and this all leads me to an ultimate...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: probate law- MI EPIC - a representative have how long to do an inventory

Trent Harris answered on Jun 20, 2019

91 days after appointment of the personal representative.

"Within 91 days of the date of the letters of authority, the personal

representative must submit to the court the information necessary for computation of the

probate inventory fee. The inventory fee must be paid no...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: How do I put a house through probate in Michigan?

Trent Harris answered on Jun 17, 2019

There's several options. You could do a petition and order for assignment, using SCAO form pc556. Or you could file an application for informal probate and appointment of a personal representative, using form pc558. Or you could file a petition for formal probate and appointment of a personal... 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 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 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, 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 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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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Michigan on

Q: Can me and my husband buy his mother's house on a land contract when husband and brother is in her will

Trent Harris answered on May 20, 2019

Yes. Even if mom’s will says the house is supposed to go to husband and brother, assuming she’s mentally competent she can still sell it to you and husband. If she does, then the house would no longer be part of her estate; instead her right to receive land contract payments as land contract... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: Was advised to direct all questions to attorney rather than Trustee and now she won't respond. What are my rights?

My brother retained an attorney to assist him with distribution of trust assets. He provided "accounting" that I disputed. A certified letter was set to the attorney per his (Trustee's) instructions in the paperwork with accounting. Going on three weeks and still no response from lawyer with... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on May 16, 2019

No, the attorney doesn't necessarily have a duty to call you back. Under the trust code, a trustee has a duty to send certain information to qualified trust beneficiaries. That sounds like what you received with the accounting. If you are a qualified beneficiary of the trust, you also have a right... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: Why would estranged spouse who left decreased for another man and lagged on signing divorce papers get all vs kin

My brother's wife suddenly decided to leave him right after going thru 5 IVF treatments trying to have a baby. She had met another man and moved to a different state to be with him. My brother had paid her the money they had mutually settled on in the divorce because it was going to be easy and he... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on May 13, 2019

Generally, a divorce in Michigan isn't legally final until a judgment of divorce has been entered. But, Michigan law creates an exception to this in the Estates and Protected Individuals Code: a "surviving spouse" does not include someone who, for 1 year or more before the other spouse's death, (1)... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law and Probate for Michigan on

Q: I need help finding a pro bono attorney to help open my father's estate and file elder abuse charges.

I live in Honolulu, Hawaii but my father was living in Detroit Michigan (Wayne County). I need an attorney located in Michigan.

Brent T. Geers answered on May 6, 2019

You're talking about a subject that can be criminal or civil. For criminal charges, you'd need to present the facts to the prosecutor's office (typically done through the filing of a police report); the prosecutor decides whether to pursue charges - you cannot compel them to criminally charge... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: what are rules in michigan in regards to finding a will year after probate

Trent Harris answered on May 1, 2019

It depends on whether the prior probate was informal or formal.

If the probate was informal, then there hasn't been a judicial finding about whether the person had a will - the facts in the application for informal probate were presumed to be true. If you come forward with the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Michigan on

Q: After consulting a lawyer, I am still confused about whether I should open a probate case or leave it alone.

My significant other died in January before he could sign the latest will we had prelared, so I was told everything would go to his only child, his daughter, unless I could find the hand-written will he signed in 2015 and then we would open probate. After I found the will, I was told to keep it... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Apr 25, 2019

So it sounds like you found the hand-written 2015 will? If so, the will may have legal effect, since holographic wills can be enforced in Michigan. The decision whether to open probate depends on the assets of the estate, and the purposes that would be served by having a personal representative... 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 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 Probate for Michigan on

Q: Michigan. How do I open probate years after death without an account balance?

My MIL died 6.5 years ago, intestate. My husband is her only heir. At the time of her death we thought we closed all the bank accounts. She was insolvent so there was no probate opened. This year, however, we received a 1099 showing interest on an account in her name. We contacted the bank who said... Read more »

Trent Harris answered on Apr 23, 2019

The bank is right. To give you information, the bank has the right to require you to show proper authority over the account. But you may not need to open an estate to get the money transferred if the account is worth $23,000 or less. You could try to use an Affidavit of Decedent's Successor for... Read more »

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