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Concluding that the trial court clearly erred in finding that a latent ambiguity existed in the deed and in reforming the deed, the court reversed the order granting the intervenor's petition to reform the deed & remanded for entry of summary disposi

A residence was conveyed to the decedent, Lyle F. Steiner, and the intervenor, Steven M. Steiner (Lyle's son). Years later, when Lyle passed away, Steven was appointed PR of Lyle's estate. "DHHS filed a claim against the estate for unpaid Medicaid bills in the amount of $48,084.95." Steven filed a petition to reform the deed to indicate a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, arguing that "Lyle intended a joint tenancy so that the property would transfer to Steven without the need for probate proceedings." The trial court found that the deed created a tenancy in common, but that a latent ambiguity existed. On the basis of the latent ambiguity, it reformed the deed to comport with Lyle's intent to own the property with Steven as joint tenants, which included a right of survivorship. The court concluded that the trial court properly found that "the deed's granting clause created a tenancy in common." The deed specifically stated that the property was conveyed to "LYLE F. STEINER, A SINGLE MAN AND STEVEN M. STEINER, A SINGLE MAN." It did "not expressly declare that the property would create a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship," thus the court construed it to create a tenancy in common. Steven produced "extrinsic evidence to support his argument that the deed is ambiguous, specifically by his affidavit indicating that Lyle intended to create a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship so that the property would pass outside the probate estate. However, a latent ambiguity does not exist in this deed as the fact that Lyle intended to create a joint tenancy does not support an argument that the deed language at issue is susceptible to more than one interpretation." The language conveying the property suggested "a single meaning-that a tenancy in common was created."

Basic responsibilities of an executor

Originally posted on 01/11/2017 The emotional toils of dealing with the death of a loved one can be considerably difficult. Nevertheless, perseverance is paramount; especially if you are appointed to be an executor to one’s...

What you need to compliment your will

Originally posted on 02/08/2017 Making end-of-life plans usually end with a will, but they shouldn't. Some believe that simply having a will is enough. However, this post will briefly explain how having other estate planning...

The benefits of home health care providers

Originally posted on 03/22/2017 As we get older or suffer an injury, we need a little extra help. Home health care providers or caregivers can provide the assistance needed to handle your or your loved one's health and safety...

What to know about bail conditions

Originally posted on 03/06/2017 If you have been arrested and are being held on the suspicion that you have committed a particular crime, chances are that the only thing you are thinking about is getting out of jail as soon as possible and...

College students and estate planning

Originally posted on 12/16/2016 With college semesters starting up in Michigan, it may not be so easy to get college students to think responsibly. This time can be especially tough with the need of moving back to school and getting...

Three reasons to put a power of attorney in place

Originally posted on 11/08/2016 While no one wants to think of the unfortunate possibility of being incapacitated or of a time when we can't handle our own affairs, this circumstance is a real possibility. If something happens and this...

How to approach parents about estate planning

Originally posted on 12/09/2016 Family forms a strong foundation for many people's first and most intimate community. It is important to strengthen these first relationships so even uncommon questions become natural. For those...

PROBATE 44: Petition for Mental Health Treatment

Michigan’s Mental Health Code governs the civil admission and discharge procedures for a person with a mental illness. Specifically, MCL 330.1434 sets forth the procedure and content requirements for a petition for mental health treatment.

Should you get your criminal record expunged?

Originally posted on 04/12/2017 If you have been convicted of a crime, have served your sentence, and have followed all court recommendations, you should be able to put your past behind you and move on with life. Moving forward is critical...

Choosing the right executor for an estate

Originally posted on 05/28/2017 When people are thinking about planning their estate, they often think about trying to minimize the estate tax, keeping their will updated, and keeping items out of probate court; however, there is another...

Understanding how the Miranda warning works

Originally posted on 11/25/2016 Michigan residents who have seen television police shows or movies involving law enforcement have no doubt watched many dramatic scenes with officers quoting something to the effect of, "You have the...

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