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PROBATE 47: Out-of-state decedent whose Michigan property passes intestate.

In this case, E Sr. died in California where he was domiciled, without a will, survived by his wife, MH and two sons, including E Jr. The sons are not MH’s children. MH was appointed personal representative of the estate in Michigan, but the parties soon began to contest the proper disposition of a condominium located in Michigan.

MH filed a petition for complete estate settlement, requesting that the condominium be distributed to her.

Evidentiary Hearing

At an evidentiary hearing, it became clear that MH had not investigated certain potential assets in California. The probate court told MH she should have listed all estate assets in her Michigan inventory, even if they were located in California.

In a situation such as this, involving an out-of-state decedent whose Michigan property passes intestate, Article II of EPIC controls, possibly except for the rules regarding spousal election. But MH was not requesting to make a spousal election.

The trial court should determine who the heirs are under EPIC’s rules of intestate succession as regards all Michigan property, and the share of each such heir as provided for by EPIC. Assuming that MH is a surviving spouse for purposes of MCL 700.2102, her share is to be calculated, at least under some circumstances, based on the entire intestate estate. The entire intestate estate necessarily includes the California property.

Property Located Out-Of-State

If an estate has been opened in California, then, MCL 700.3919(1) controls, provided that the California personal representative is willing to receive the Michigan property and otherwise comply with the applicable requirements of EPIC. Then you marshal the Michigan assets, liquidate them, and send them over to California.

Facing Probate and Estate Administration?

Aldrich Legal Services offers comprehensive guidance throughout the probate process. We offer probate services for clients whose loved ones died with or without a will. If disputes arise, we also have experience with litigating probate matters.

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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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