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PROBATE 56: Court finds that an examination via a videoconferencing software is sufficient for clinical certificate.

In this case, respondent has been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar type, and has received services from petitioner since at least 2005.

Clinical Certificate

In March 2022, petitioner filed a petition with the probate court for a continuing mental health treatment order. A clinical certificate prepared by Dr. F was attached to the petition.

In the clinical certificate, Dr. F reiterated respondent’s diagnosis and stated that he had personally examined respondent via video between Dr. F and the patient.

Respondent argues that he was entitled to an in-person, rather than remote, personal examination under MCL 330.1434, that Dr. F’s examination via video was therefore inadequate, and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel because counsel failed to object on this ground.

Mental Health Code

The process for obtaining continuing orders of hospitalization or other forms of treatment based on a person’s mental illness are contained in various provisions of Chapter 4 of the Mental Health Code. The probate court must find that the individual continues to be a person requiring treatment. Any individual 18 years of age or over may file with the court a petition that asserts that an individual is a person requiring treatment. The petition shall be accompanied by the clinical certificate of a physician or a licensed psychologist. A clinical certificate that accompanies a petition must have been executed within 72 hours before the filing of the petition, and after personal examination of the individual.

If the trial court finds that a respondent is still a person requiring treatment, it shall issue another continuing order for involuntary mental health treatment for a period not to exceed 1 year.

Personal Examination

A personal examination can be reasonably be defined as a careful inquiry, inspection, or test that is conducted between the examiner and examinee or that relates to the examinee’s person or body. Nothing in these terms states implies that a personal examination must take place with the examiner and examinee in the same room or physical space. Mental illness manifests through thoughts and mood, so while it is possible that physical proximity might provide the examiner with insight into a person’s thoughts or mood, it is at least equally possible that an examination via a videoconferencing software would be sufficient to gain such insight.

In this case, the probate court entered an order granting the petition for a continuing mental health treatment order.

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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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