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MICHIGAN REAL ESTATE 96: Under Michigan law, parties may acquiesce to a new property boundary line.

This case is a quiet title action, claiming adverse possession and acquiescence regarding the disputed area, a bordering strip of land between the parties’ properties.

Disputed Area

Plaintiff’s parents acquired the property under a 1965 land contract. At the time of the land contract, the seller took the plaintiff and his parents on a tour of the land, showing them its boundaries. The seller explained that one of these boundaries was marked by a fence and tree line. In 2014, the land was conveyed from plaintiff’s parents through a trustee’s deed.

Plaintiff said he actively maintained and farmed the property and the disputed area from 1965 until approximately 2017 when he suffered a heart attack. In 2017, he leased their property to CJ, who testified he maintained and farmed the property, including the disputed area. CJ said he stopped farming the disputed area in 2020 following an order by the trial court in this case.


At the time Plaintiff’s parents purchased their property, P owned and occupied the property next to them. In 1982, P sold and conveyed a portion of their property to B. The property described in B’s deed only went as far west as the tree line, but it did not include a description of the disputed area. In 2002, P sold and conveyed the remainder of the property to the defendants who purchased the property as a vacation space for their family. In contrast to B’s deed, the defendants deed included a description of the disputed area

Adverse Possession / Acquiescence

Approximately eight years after the defendant purchased their property, a disagreement arose regarding the property line. The Plaintiff believed the property line was the tree line, while the Defendant relied on the legal descriptions provided in their deed. In 2019, Plaintiff filed a complaint to quiet title to the disputed area, alleging they obtained ownership of the disputed area either through adverse possession or acquiescence. Defendant filed a counterclaim, seeking a declaratory judgment, and asserting a claim for trespass. After a bench trial, the trial court rejected the Plaintiff’ adverse possession claim but found the Plaintiff had established acquiescence. It dismissed the Defendant’ counterclaim and awarded title of the disputed area to the Plaintiff.

Under Michigan law, parties may acquiesce to a new property boundary line. The statutory period for title by acquiescence is 15 years. The acquiescence of predecessors in title can be tacked onto that of the parties to establish the mandated period of fifteen years. If the whole period of acquiescence exceeds 15 years, the line becomes fixed, regardless of whether there had been a bona fide controversy as to the boundary.

The trial court explained that the 15-year statutory period ran from 1965, when Robert’s parents entered the land contract, to 1980. In finding that the parties’ predecessors believed the boundary was at the tree line, the trial court noted that Robert actively farmed the disputed area from the time his parents first purchased the property.

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MICHIGAN WILLS/TRUSTS 33: Trustees required to provide notice informing recipients that they may challenge the validity of a trust and the period allowed for bringing such a challenge.

The notice sent clearly advised her that if she wanted to contest the validity of the Trust in a judicial proceeding, the law required her to do so within six months from the date of the letter. Nothing in the statute requires a trustee to inform the recipients of the specific legal consequences of not acting during the time allowed.

MICHIGAN REAL ESTATE 97: The court imposed a constructive trust on defendant’s one-half interest in the property in favor of plaintiff.

The trial court found that plaintiff sustained her burden of establishing that a constructive trust was necessary to prevent defendant from being unjustly enriched. Accordingly, the court imposed a constructive trust on defendant’s one-half interest in the property in favor of plaintiff and ordered defendant to convey his interest in the property to plaintiff.

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.

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