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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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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.

PROBATE 53: The trust agreement included an Incontestability Provision.

A settlor’s intent is to be carried out as nearly as possible. Generally, in terrorem clauses are valid and enforceable. However, a provision in a trust that purports to penalize an interested person for contesting the trust or instituting another proceeding relating to the trust shall not be given effect if probable cause exists for instituting a proceeding contesting the trust or another proceeding relating to the trust.

FAMILY LAW 82: Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order (PPO) after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

However, the trial court concluded that these matters should, in fact, be in the province and the jurisdiction of the Family Division and in that respect, having issued a personal protection order, the Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

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FAMILY LAW 77: Court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody; defendant was unwilling to work with plaintiff.

For joint custody to work, parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole custody of the children.

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