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PROBATE 48: Decedent intentionally made no provision for son in her will.

Decedent had three children: petitioner and respondents. At some point, decedent went to her attorney and instructed him to draft a will for her. He did so after discussing the matter with decedent, and decedent executed the will. Decedent nominated respondents as co-personal representatives, bequeathed her entire estate to respondents, and indicated that she intentionally made no provision for petitioner.

Petition for Probate

Petitioner filed a petition for probate and requested that the probate court appoint him as a special personal representative of decedent’s estate. Petitioner acknowledged that decedent had executed a will before her death. However, petitioner alleged that decedent lacked the capacity to make a will and was under undue influence at the time. A special representative was necessary to allow Petitioner to investigate and to obtain necessary information to determine if further proceedings are necessary.

Respondents opposed the petition, arguing that petitioner was aware that decedent had appointed respondents as co-personal representatives and that all of decedent’s assets had already been distributed to the proper beneficiaries.

Hearing on Petition

At the hearing on the petition, petitioner’s counsel did not present any evidence. Instead, petitioner requested a continuance to allow for discovery. The probate court denied petitioner’s requests, denied the relief sought in the petition, and dismissed the matter.

At the hearing, petitioner’s counsel expressed a need for discovery regarding decedent’s longstanding mental health issues, explaining that there had been a lack of transparency on the part of respondents. Although it would have been proper for petitioner to engage in discovery after the petition was filed, the record contains no evidence that petitioner made any effort to obtain discovery. Specifically, there is no evidence that petitioner sought subpoenas for decedent’s medical records, attempted to depose respondents, timely obtained affidavits, or otherwise sought information to support the petition. Petitioner did not even prepare and present his own affidavit to the probate court.

Summary Disposition

Summary disposition is appropriate if further discovery does not stand a reasonable chance of uncovering factual support for the opposing party’s position. The probate court dismissed based on a lack of evidentiary support and insufficient information even alleged in the Petition.

Do Not Face Probate Litigation on Your Own

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.

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PROBATE 51: Trust filed a petition to determine title to credit union account.

The probate court explained that the owners of the account are S and J. When S passes, J becomes the owner of the account. J is the one who had the authority to make the designation. Nowhere in any documents is there a designation by J that SJ be the owner -- or the beneficiary of the account. The designation made by his father was no longer binding because he was no longer the owner at the time J passed away.

Invoking Your Right to Remain Silent

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Arrests made by tracking cell phones may be illegal

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Could I lose my job over a drunk driving arrest?

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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.

CRIMINAL 19: Sentencing guidelines are advisory.

The sentencing guidelines are advisory, and although a trial court must determine the applicable guidelines range and take it into account when imposing a sentence, the court is not required to sentence a defendant within that range.

Basic responsibilities of an executor

Originally posted on 01/11/2017 The emotional toils of dealing with the death of a loved one can be considerably difficult. Nevertheless, perseverance is paramount; especially if you are appointed to be an executor to one’s...

What you need to compliment your will

Originally posted on 02/08/2017 Making end-of-life plans usually end with a will, but they shouldn't. Some believe that simply having a will is enough. However, this post will briefly explain how having other estate planning...

The benefits of home health care providers

Originally posted on 03/22/2017 As we get older or suffer an injury, we need a little extra help. Home health care providers or caregivers can provide the assistance needed to handle your or your loved one's health and safety...

What to know about bail conditions

Originally posted on 03/06/2017 If you have been arrested and are being held on the suspicion that you have committed a particular crime, chances are that the only thing you are thinking about is getting out of jail as soon as possible and...

College students and estate planning

Originally posted on 12/16/2016 With college semesters starting up in Michigan, it may not be so easy to get college students to think responsibly. This time can be especially tough with the need of moving back to school and getting...

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