Now Accepting New Clients!

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

This case is a dispute over the ownership of certain real property.

Quitclaim Deed

A and J purchased a home in Michigan (the property). In 2002, A and J established the A and J Trust, of which A and J were the sole trustees, and executed a quitclaim deed conveying the property to the trust. The parties do not dispute that the couple gave the quitclaim deed to their attorney and advised their attorney that the deed should be recorded only if A and J died simultaneously. If the couple did not die simultaneously, the attorney was not to record the deed and the surviving spouse purportedly would receive record title to the property.

A died in 2011, leaving J as the surviving spouse. Thereafter, the trust was divided into two trusts, the Family Trust and the Survivor’s Trust, each of which was to receive a one-half share of the assets of the A and J Trust. After A’s death, J conveyed the property by a recorded quitclaim deed to the J S. Trust, of which she was the trustee.

In 2018, J recorded an enhanced life estate deed transferring a remainder interest in the property to her daughter, defendant Koss. J died in 2019. The amended complaint alleges that at the time of its filing, defendant Koss resided on the property and claimed full ownership interest in the property.

Plaintiff initiated this action alleging that the Family Trust owns a one-half interest in the property and seeking to quiet title to the Family Trust’s interest in the property. Plaintiff alleged that the 2002 quitclaim deed transferred the property to the A and J Trust, which was subject to division between the Family Trust and the Survivor’s Trust upon A’s death.

Delivery of Deed

The court disagreed that A and J did not intend to convey the deed to the trust. The alleged delivery occurred in the somewhat unusual circumstance of the grantors deeding the property from themselves as individuals to themselves in their capacity as the trustees of the joint trust. Thus, A and J delivered the deed to the grantees, i.e., themselves, before they deposited the deed with their attorney. In addition, the fact that they instructed their attorney not to record the deed unless they died simultaneously did not prevent the deed from being delivered.

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. As a result, the deed to the subject property was delivered and the interest conveyed when A and J executed the 2002 quitclaim deed to the A and J Trust and delivered it to themselves as trustees.

The trial court granted summary disposition in favor of plaintiff and denying defendants’ motion for summary disposition.

Assistance with Real Estate Litigation

Are you involved in a real estate dispute in Michigan? Are you seeking an efficient and effective resolution to a property litigation matter?

If you are facing a residential or commercial real estate, seek the advice of an experienced and skilled real estate litigation attorney at Aldrich Legal Services in Plymouth.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000

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.

Don't let a bad decision, unfair contract, or a messy divorce get in the way of a promising future!
Contact the experienced team at Aldrich Legal Services today to schedule your free initial
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000