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REAL ESTATE 36: Plaintiff argued that her claim was not time-barred because it did not accrue until the grandmother’s death.

This action involves property which originally belonged to plaintiff’s grandparents. While plaintiff was still a minor her grandparents conveyed their interest in the property to plaintiff, while retaining life estates in the property.

The grandfather died on January 17, 1997.  On April 2, 1997, plaintiff, 11-years-old at the time, purportedly conveyed her interest in the property to the grandmother by way of a quitclaim deed. Following proceedings in the Wayne Probate Court, the grandmother executed a warranty deed for the property to another person whom subsequently defaulted on her mortgage against the property and a sheriff’s deed on mortgage sale was entered. Finally, on February 24, 2010, the new property owner quit claimed the property to defendant. The grandmother died on July 18, 2014.

On August 19, 2016, plaintiff filed an action seeking to quiet title to the property. As pertinent to this appeal, defendant filed a motion for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(7) and (C)(10) claiming that plaintiff’s action was (1) barred by the applicable statute of limitations, (2) precluded by the application of the doctrine of res judicata and that title to the property should be quieted in favor of defendant.

Plaintiff responded, arguing that (1) her claim was not time-barred because it did not accrue until the grandmother’s death in July 2014 and (2) the grandmother did not have legal authority to convey plaintiff’s interest in the property. Plaintiff also pointed out that she did not receive any proceeds from the sale of the property or an interest in the property that the grandmother purchased using the proceeds from the sale of the property.

As an initial matter, plaintiff argues that this action seeking to quiet title to the property is not barred by the applicable 15-year statute of limitations because her claim did not accrue until 2014, when the grandmother died and the grandmother’s life estate in the property was terminated. The court agreed.

Plaintiff’s interest in the subject property is best characterized as a remainder estate, because her right to possession of the property was postponed until the occurrence of a specific contingency, that being the deaths of the grandparents. Plaintiff pursued this action within the 15-year limitation period; accordingly, this action is not barred by MCL 600.5801(4).

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If you are facing a residential or commercial real estate, seek the advice of an experienced and skilled real estate litigation attorney at Aldrich Legal Services in Plymouth.

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