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MICHIGAN PROBATE 59: The petition to admit the will was unopposed at the time of the hearing, and the court granted the petition to admit the will.

BR was unmarried without children when he died.

Personal Representative

N, BR’s stepdaughter applied for informal probate and/or appointment of personal representative. The only known heir listed was BR’s cousin who renounced his right to serve as personal representative and nominated N to serve. Letters of authority were issued naming N as the personal representative of BR’s estate. Nehra filed an inventory of BR’s estate and provided a copy of the inventory to appellant and other interested parties.

Undated/Unsigned Estate Planning Documents

SY filed a petition for formal probate and/or appointment of personal representative, as a non-heir devisee. SY attached to the petition a copy of BR’s undated and unsigned estate planning documents, including a will and trust agreement, which were discovered after N’s original application for informal probate was filed. Concurrently, SY filed a petition to admit the will under MCL 700.2503.3

Hearing to Admit Will

A hearing on the petition to admit the will was scheduled, via Zoom. Notice of the hearing was published, a notice of hearing and a copy of the petition for probate, the petition to admit the will, and a notice of the right to intervene were mailed to B’s first cousin, but he did not attend the hearing. No oral or written objections to admission of the will were received.

The probate court granted the petition to admit BR’s will under MCL 700.2503. The probate court’s order provided that BR’s estate shall be prorated pursuant to the terms of the Trust Agreement, with LS, MS and N each receiving one-third of the estate’s assets.

If a petition is unopposed at the time set for the hearing, the court may either grant the petition on the basis of the recitations in the petition or conduct a hearing. Here, the petition to admit BR’s will was unopposed at the time of the hearing, and the court granted the petition to admit the will.

Assistance with Probate

Aldrich Legal Services represents clients in a wide range of probate matters. Given the emotional nature of these disputes and their financial impact on all involved, it is critical that anyone involved in such a dispute retain highly qualified legal counsel.

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MICHIGAN REAL ESTATE 95: Property owners did not place a condition upon the delivery of the deed; rather, they delivered the deed to themselves.

When the delivery of a deed is contingent upon the happening of some future event, title to the subject property will not transfer to the grantee until the event has occurred. However, in this case A and J did not place a condition upon the delivery of the deed; rather, they delivered the deed to themselves, then deposited the deed with their attorney with the instruction to record the deed only upon the happening of a future event, thereby placing a condition only upon the recording of the deed.

MICHIGAN PROBATE 57: Brother granted permanent guardianship of siblings.

At a multiday hearing to address the extension of the guardianship, the eldest children, the mother’s relatives and friends, and school personnel testified regarding the mother’s care of the children, appellant’s treatment of and interaction with the children, and the eldest siblings’ role in aiding the mother to raise the children.

FAMILY LAW 88: The trial court found that the children did not have an established custodial environment with defendant because, before the separation, he did not have a large role in the children’s lives.

The trial court credited plaintiff’s testimony that, before the parties’ separation, defendant spent minimal time helping to care for the children, so its finding that the children would not have looked to defendant for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort during that time was not against the great weight of the evidence.

REAL ESTATE 89: RM had not included any language in the deed providing that the property was a joint tenancy with full rights of survivorship, the property instead became a tenancy in common.

RM drafted the deed without seeking counsel and mistakenly believed that, if either she or FK died, the property would fully pass to the surviving tenant. FK’s will provided that if his wife predeceased him—which she did—the personal representative of his estate should sell any residual property that he owned and divide the cash proceeds equally among his surviving children.

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.

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