Now Accepting New Clients!

PROBATE 55: Plaintiffs argue that decedents were subject to coercion and undue influence.

This case arises from disputes between sisters regarding the estates of their deceased parents. The parties are three of four sisters. Plaintiffs believe that starting around the year 2000, defendant planned to take control of decedents’ affairs and turn them against the other sisters.

Estate Planning Documents

Defendant became decedents’ power of attorney in 2002. The same year, decedents executed estate planning documents disinheriting plaintiffs and the fourth daughter, leaving their entire estate, valued over $4,900,000, to defendant.

Claim of Undue Influence

Plaintiffs filed separate actions in the probate court asserting that decedents died without wills. Defendant objected, asserting that each decedent had a 2002 will pouring over all their assets into their trusts. When defendant petitioned to close the estates and admit the wills to probate, plaintiffs objected, arguing that decedents were subject to coercion and undue influence by defendant.

Probate Court

On November 18, 2020, the probate court entered an opinion and order admitting decedents’ wills to probate. The probate court found no issue with decedents’ testamentary capacity and concluded that there was no evidence of coercion or undue influence by defendant. Both decedents’ last will stated that all their assets would pour over into their trusts upon their deaths. Defendant was the only named beneficiary of each trust. The probate court determined that plaintiffs had no interest in decedents’ assets to impart standing or make them real parties in interest because decedents’ wills disinherited plaintiffs.

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.

  • We represent clients in probate litigation involving:
  • Personal representative and trustee disputes
  • Misuse and misappropriation of trust funds
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Will contests
  • Other inheritance disputes

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000

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.

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.

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