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A right of first refusal, or option to purchase, must be exercised during a lease term

The court held that the trial court did not err by granting summary disposition for the defendants-bank and buyer in the plaintiffs-lessees' action to enforce a right of first refusal to purchase the leased property. The bank initiated foreclosure proceedings on the property. The lease was later amended and the amendment included a right of first refusal to purchase the property. The bank purchased the property at a sheriff's sale, and then sold it to defendant-Verstraete, who tried to evict plaintiffs. The trial court held that he was not a bona fide purchaser because he had notice of plaintiffs' lease with the prior owner, and was bound by the terms of the lease. Plaintiffs sued, alleging the bank breached the lease by failing to provide them with notice of any purchase offer to allow them to exercise their right of first refusal. The trial court found that there was "nothing in the express terms of the lease preventing the bank from selling the property" during the original lease term, and that the claims against Verstraete "were based on the flawed premise that the sale of the property to him by" the bank violated the right of first refusal. On appeal, the court held that the lease only granted plaintiffs "an option to purchase the 'residence during the lease term period,'" and did not "restrict the owner's right to sell" the property, or "give plaintiffs an interest in the land under which they could deny the sale of the property to others." Further, "the lease provides that it 'if the Lessee fails to exercise his or her option within lease term, the Option to Purchase shall lapse.' Plaintiffs allegedly only attempted to exercise the option to purchase months after the property was sold to" Verstraete, and the right of first refusal "states that this right only exists 'during the extended (but not the original) term,' which at all times relevant was not yet in effect." By "specifying that the right does not arise during the original term of the lease, the contract clearly evidences an intent that no such right exists or should be implied." The court rejected plaintiffs' claim that "where the lease states, 'OWNER has option to market and sell at end of lease term,' it indicates that owners may not market or sell the property before the end of" the original lease term. "Again, there is no language prohibiting the owner from selling the property prior to this time." Affirmed. 

FAMILY LAW 83: A trial court can terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child.

A trial court has discretion to terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child when the conditions of MCL 710.51(6) are met. MCL 710.51(6)(b) requires the petitioner to establish that the other parent had the ability to visit, contact, or communicate with the children, and substantially failed or neglected to do so for a period of two years.

PROBATE 53: The trust agreement included an Incontestability Provision.

A settlor’s intent is to be carried out as nearly as possible. Generally, in terrorem clauses are valid and enforceable. However, a provision in a trust that purports to penalize an interested person for contesting the trust or instituting another proceeding relating to the trust shall not be given effect if probable cause exists for instituting a proceeding contesting the trust or another proceeding relating to the trust.

FAMILY LAW 82: Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order (PPO) after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

However, the trial court concluded that these matters should, in fact, be in the province and the jurisdiction of the Family Division and in that respect, having issued a personal protection order, the Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

What to Do When Homeowners Insurance Denies Your Claim

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What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

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PROBATE 51: Trust filed a petition to determine title to credit union account.

The probate court explained that the owners of the account are S and J. When S passes, J becomes the owner of the account. J is the one who had the authority to make the designation. Nowhere in any documents is there a designation by J that SJ be the owner -- or the beneficiary of the account. The designation made by his father was no longer binding because he was no longer the owner at the time J passed away.

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Could I lose my job over a drunk driving arrest?

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FAMILY LAW 77: Court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody; defendant was unwilling to work with plaintiff.

For joint custody to work, parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole custody of the children.

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