734-359-7018
Now Accepting New Clients!
Blog

PROBATE 24: Appellant’s willful noncompliance resulted in contempt of court and four days in jail.

The decedent died intestate on February 10, 2017, leaving several children as his descendants. The probate court appointed R as the personal representative of the estate. R had Appellant and two of his siblings bid on the subject automobile after they had expressed an interest in it. R testified that despite an array of competing bids, none of the family members ever provided any money to him. Consequently, R sold the vehicle to the buyer. When the buyer attempted to claim possession of the vehicle, he was precluded from doing so by Appellant.

After a hearing, the probate court approved of R’s sale of the vehicle, noting Appellant’s failure to pay the purchase price in a reasonable time and R’s discovery of a willing buyer. The probate court ordered Appellant to turn the vehicle over to R, but when Appellant refused to do so, he was found in contempt of court and sentenced to time in jail.

Subsequently, Appellant moved the probate court to remove R as personal representative of the estate while R moved the probate court to allow Appellant to keep the vehicle but to deduct $2,000 from Appellant’s share of the estate to pay the buyer along with $1,000 from his share to pay for attorney fees and costs arising out of Appellant’s wrongful retention of the vehicle. Appellant objected, citing that the vehicle was not worth that amount and that R had breached an array of duties to the estate. At no point during R’s appointment as personal representative does it appear he was doing anything but acting in the best interests of the estate. The probate court entered an order adopting R’s plan.

The probate court did not abuse its discretion in granting R’s petition because a probate court may issue equitable relief in the distribution of a decedent’s estate, in determining heirs’ property interests, and in determining heirs’ rights to a decedent’s property. MCL 700.1302(a)(ii) and (iii); MCL 700.1303(1)(a).

Despite the probate court’s order requiring Appellant to return the vehicle to R, Appellant refused to do so. Appellant’s willful noncompliance resulted in him being held in contempt of court and a sentence of four days in jail. Yet, even so, he still refused to turn the vehicle over to the personal representative.

The probate court’s order authorizing R to deduct $3,000 from Appellant’s distributive share of the estate’s residue allowed for the expedient administration of the estate and its closure. Thus, the probate court did not abuse its discretion in authorizing this partial distribution, as it properly invoked its equitable jurisdiction and authority.

Aldrich Legal Services represents clients in a wide range of probate litigation 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.

In addition to representing local clients, we have assisted many out-of-state clients who have required legal representation to resolve probate disputes here in Michigan.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

What You Need to Know About Distracted Driving

A great U.S. freedom is the ability to drive the open roads. However, every year there are more than 20,000 car accidents in Michigan. Many of these accidents come from distracted driving and could have been avoided. Distracted driving is such a...

Reasons Your Will or Trust Could be Contested

Everyone reacts in their own way when a family member passes away. Emotions can run high, and people can react more strongly than they normally would. Some family members may feel cheated by what a will or trust grants them leading them to contest...

Penalties For Driving Without Insurance in Michigan

Getting into a car and going for a drive isn’t perfectly safe. Driving on the Michigan roads can be dangerous. Driving those same roads becomes financially dangerous if you drive without car insurance. Between fees, charges, and possible...

PROBATE 36: Undue influence to execute Lady Bird deed.

This probate dispute between siblings arises out of the death of their father. Their father lived alone. In 2013, however, he asked appellee to live with him. She agreed, moving into the home in August 2013. Appellants allege that in the years...

Top 5 Most Common Traffic Violations in Michigan

Staying safe on the roads is in everyone’s best interest. However, keeping yourself or others out of danger is everyone’s responsibility. Getting a traffic ticket ends up costing drivers big time. Traffic tickets and citations cost money...

A Cheap Divorce is Not Worth It

Money is an important factor whenever you work with a professional. When you go through a divorce, your money and time can get even tighter. Hiring a cheap lawyer to handle your case could be attractive. However, they will end up letting you down....

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
consultation
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000
734-237-6482
734-366-4405