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PROBATE 45: The court held that the probate court did not err by granting summary disposition for Plaintiff, or by denying Defendant’s request for an extension of the discovery period, adjournment of mediation, and issuance of subpoenas and by dismi

This case arises out of competing petitions for probate. On November 19, 2018, Defendant initiated this case by filing a petition for probate, attaching Decedent’s death certificate and purported last will and testament, dated March 9, 2007, and requesting he be appointed personal representative as nominated in that will. On November 30, 2018, Plaintiff also filed a petition for probate, attaching Decedent’s death certificate and purported last will and testament, dated July 12, 2018, and seeking appointment as personal representative. On February 6, 2019, the probate court entered a stipulated scheduling order granting the parties until March 22, 2019, to engage in discovery, requiring the parties to attend mediation on  that date or after, providing an April 23, 2019 deadline to file dispositive motions for which no responses would be accepted, and scheduling a settlement conference for May 7, 2019. On April 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary disposition pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(8) and MCR 2.116(C)(10) on Defendant’s claims of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity, and on April 29, 2019, Plaintiff filed an objection to the petition, contending that Defendant, to Plaintiff’s knowledge, issued two subpoenas six days before the March 22, 2019 discovery deadline, and did not attempt to engage in any other discovery. In his brief in support of the petition, Defendant asserted that his counsel was unable to comply with the probate court’s discovery deadline as provided in the stipulated order entered on February 6, 2019, because he was unsuccessful in securing timely information about Decedent’s state of mind when she executed the 2018 Will approximately four months before her death. On June 19, 2019, a hearing was held on Plaintiff’s motion for summary disposition and the petition, at which the probate court concluded that there was no basis to reject the 2018 Will, determined that it was valid, and appointed Plaintiff as personal representative. In its opinion, the probate court added that, “[u]nder the circumstances, [Defendant’s] request for additional discovery appears to be a ‘fishing expedition’ rather than a request based on more than mere conjecture or speculation.” On July 31, 2019, the probate court entered an order granting Plaintiff’s motion for summary disposition, denying Defendant’s request for an extension of the discovery period, adjournment of mediation, and issuance of subpoenas, and dismissing Defendant’s petition for probate. This appeal followed.


On appeal, Defendant argues that the probate court abused its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion to extend discovery and granting Plaintiff’s motion for summary disposition. This Court reviews for an abuse of discretion a trial court’s decision regarding a motion to extend discovery.


Defendant argues that summary disposition was inappropriate, and his motion to extend discovery should have been granted, because for reasons beyond Defendant’s control, Defendant’s counsel was unsuccessful in securing timely information regarding Decedent’s state of mind when she executed the 2018 Will thereby making it impossible to comply with the probate court’s discovery deadline. In order to invoke the probate court’s discretion to grant an adjournment, a party must demonstrate good cause. MCR 2.503(B)(1). [C]ases upholding a denial [of a motion to adjourn] have always involved some combination of numerous past continuances, failure of the movant to exercise due diligence, and lack of any injustice to the movant. Where a motion to adjourn is requested in order to complete discovery, the inquiry focuses on whether the movant has shown an adequate explanation for the failure to complete discovery and whether the failure was due to a lack of diligence in preparation.” Although this is not a case where Defendant had requested “numerous past continuances,” Defendant has not shown an adequate explanation for his counsel’s failure to complete discovery. Defendant argues that his counsel failed to complete discovery on time because Hospice refused to cooperate with his subpoena for Decedent’s medical records “unless it was signed by a judge.” Although Defendant attempts to explain that his counsel’s failure to complete discovery was because of Hospice, the record is devoid of any attempts by Defendant’s counsel to secure a signed subpoena from the probate court for Decedent’s medical records from Hospice. Consequently, Defendant has not shown an adequate explanation for his counsel’s failure to complete discovery necessitating an extension or adjournment. Further, other than the subpoenas, the record neither shows that Defendant’s counsel issued discovery requests, or presented any affidavits to support Defendant’s claims or the need for additional discovery, nor has Defendant’s counsel tried to depose, or even contact, any potential witnesses. In fact, Defendant’s counsel did not file the petition to amend or extend discovery until April 1, 2019, approximately 10 days after the close of discovery. Therefore, the probate court did not abuse its discretion in declining Defendant’s request to extend discovery.

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PROBATE 42: Dissolution of professional corporation.

This case involves the estate of a doctor whose professional corporation also had to be dissolved upon his death. The personal representative of the estate sold the company’s assets but did not pay off the company’s debts before transferring the proceeds to the estate and distributing them to the heirs.

REAL ESTATE 73: Quiet title action.

This case involves a dispute over real property located in Michigan. W and V who are D’s parents, acquired the property. In 1999, W and V conveyed the property to the Trust, to which W is the sole trustee, via a quit claim deed. At some point...

How Is Alimony Determined In A Michigan Divorce?

Originally posted on 06/22/2018. When filing for divorce in Michigan, you may seek alimony, spousal support, from their spouse whenever they require financial aid. A judge may order your spouse to pay certain alimony. However, it depends...

Is My Conviction Eligible for Expungement?

Originally posted on 10/11/2019. At one point or another, we have all made mistakes. For some people, those mistakes involved breaking the law. Convictions have a large impact on someone’s life. Beyond the sentencing ranging from...

DIVORCE 57: Holding that the trial court’s factual findings were not supported by the record evidence, and thus could not stand, the court reversed, vacated the portion of the Amended Default JOD ordering defendant to pay $3,325 to plaintiff, and re

Plaintiff first testified that she and defendant purchased the marital home in 1995. At the time the first default judgment of divorce was entered in September 2017, plaintiff had the home appraised. The value of the home was determined to be...

FAMILY LAW 68: The court held that the satisfaction of the statute relating to the termination of parental rights does not necessarily provide clear and convincing evidence in a parenting time dispute that a child will be harmed by reintroduction to

In a separate case, defendant’s parents filed a petition to terminate plaintiff’s parental rights and adopt RM on the ground that plaintiff had been absent from RM’s life for over three years. One month before the petition was...

FAMILY LAW 66: The court affirmed the trial court’s retroactive child support modification as to the second credit to which plaintiff-mother admitted at the referee hearing, and reversed and remanded as to the trial court’s equitable abatement of th

The parties have two children in common, and both children are now adults. The parties were never married, but plaintiff was granted custody and defendant was ordered to pay child support. After the youngest child turned eighteen, defendant sought a...

FAMILY LAW 65: The court held that because the ECE was not altered by the change of school districts, the referee properly applied the preponderance of the evidence standard when reviewing the best interest and parenting time factors.

BASIC FACTS The parties divorced in 2018. Their judgment of divorce provided that plaintiff would have primary physical custody and that the parties would have joint legal custody of the two minor children. The judgment of divorce stated that the...

FAMILY LAW 64: The court reversed the trial court’s order granting joint physical and legal custody of the parties’ children to defendant-father, concluding that the trial court improperly conflated his motion to change custody with plaintiff-mother

The parties divorced in 2013. The judgment of divorce granted mother sole physical and legal custody and ordered that the child’s domicile would remain in Michigan. In 2015, the trial court granted mother’s motion to change domicile,...

5 Common Misdemeanors Affecting People in Michigan

Originally posted on 11/08/2019 There are many different levels of crime and the consequences once someone has been charged with them. One bracket of crimes is known as a misdemeanor. Let’s go over this level of crime and some common...

PROBATE 44: The court held that the probate court did not err by declaring a will executed by the decedent invalid on the basis that she lacked testamentary capacity to execute it and that it was the product of petitioner’s undue influence.

Defendant and Decedent met in August 2017. In approximately November 2017, Decedent began talking constantly about wanting Defendant to take her to see an attorney for the purpose of changing her will. On March 19, 2018, Defendant filed a petition...

Michigan Expungement Law Updates For 2021

There has been a new law regarding expungements for the state of Michigan.  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that expands the criteria for expungements related to traffic offenses, marijuana convictions, and minor...

Wills and Trusts

Originally posted on: 02/14/2014 Aldrich Legal Service provides legal advice and representation for residents in Plymouth, Ann Arbor, and Southeast Michigan. We also review recent legal cases to examine what took place and what we can...

REAL ESTATE 68: Holding that plaintiffs-buyers’ allegations of fraud in this case arising from the sale of a residence did not preclude the trial court from granting defendants’ motion for summary disposition based on a release, the court affirmed.

This cause of action arises from plaintiffs’ purchase of a residence from defendant, who had rights in the house under a land contract from co-defendant, the legal owner of the house. Before the house was for sale, in January 2018, an upstairs...

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