Now Accepting New Clients!

PROBATE 50: Court held that she was not a beneficiary of his will or trust because they were revoked when he and her mother divorced.

Appellant was eight years old at the time her mother and the decedent married and was treated by the decedent as his daughter both during and after the marriage.


Decedent’s will identified his spouse, and identified his living children as Appellant, who is my step-child. Under the terms of his will, the decedent’s assets were left to “The Family Trust.”

On the same date, the decedent and Sally executed a trust adoption agreement and created a joint revocable trust known as “The Family Trust.” The trust adoption agreement stated that the settlors were married to each other and identified appellant as the only living child of the settlors. The agreement identified the residuary beneficiary of the trust as “The above-named Child.” Under the explicit terms of the trust, upon the death of either spouse, the surviving spouse was entitled to receive all principal and income, and upon the death of the surviving spouse, appellant would receive all principle and income. The agreement also provided a default provision for distribution of the trust estate to D and J (appellees).


The decedent and spouse divorced on April 3. The decedent died on July 2. Appellant was appointed personal representative of the decedent’s estate. After a will was discovered, the appellant filed a petition in the trust case and a petition for probate in the will case. Appellant also requested an order determining heirs. The court entered a stipulated order in both cases indicating that the sole issue before the court for determination was how the statutory provision of MCL 700.2807(1)(a)(i) and (3) regarding the divorce of the decedent affected the appellant’s interests under the putative will of the decedent and under the trust agreement for The Family Trust.


Appellees, D and J, moved for summary disposition.  The court found that appellant was not a beneficiary of the decedent’s will or of the Family Trust because the dispositions to her were revoked under MCL 700.2807(1)(a)(i) when the decedent and spouse divorced.

Appellant contends that the probate court erred in its interpretation and application of MCL 700.2806(e) and MCL 700.2807(1)(a)(i) and improperly granted summary disposition in favor of appellees.


Under the EPIC, absent express terms to the contrary in the governing instrument, when a testator who has executed a will subsequently divorces his spouse, the divorce revokes any disposition or appointment of property to either the former spouse or the former spouse’s relatives. Thus, the probate court properly determined that the decedent’s disposition to appellant was revoked under MCL 700.2807(1)(a)(i), because appellant is a relative of the divorced individual’s former spouse.

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.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000

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.

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.

What to Do When Homeowners Insurance Denies Your Claim

Since 1955, homeowners insurance has helped owners protect their property and belongings against damages and theft. According to the Insurance Information Institute, over 93% of homeowners in the US have homeowners insurance coverage, paying around...

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

Originally posted on 10/20/2017 If you are charged with a crime, you could face severe penalties that could include financial fines, public service, or even jail time. For those in the Michigan area, hiring an attorney experienced in...

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

Originally posted on 07/19/2017 While the “right to remain silent” represents one of your most inalienable rights, many people have a few misconceptions about how it works. Many people receive their understanding of this...

Arrests made by tracking cell phones may be illegal

Originally posted on 02/10/2017 Law enforcement agencies are always looking for an edge in fighting crime. As cell phones have become an indispensable part of life for many people, authorities have taken to using these devices to track...

Could I lose my job over a drunk driving arrest?

Originally posted on 01/20/2017 When potential clients ask us questions about criminal defense representation (particularly for drunk driving offenses) one of the most common is whether they will lose their job.  Naturally, this...

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