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REAL ESTATE 88: Neighbors with adjoining properties clash over two driveways.

In this case, neighbors with adjoining properties clashed over which of two driveways was plaintiff’s easement. Plaintiff’s lot was landlocked. Plaintiff argued his easement to access the highway was a gravel driveway (“the Gravel Drive”). Defendants argued plaintiff’s easement was a two-track dirt trail that wound through the woods on defendants’ property (“the West Drive”).


In May of 1972, members of defendants’ family were deeded the back half of a parent parcel of land (the M lot). The M lot did not have access to the highway, and so their deed provided an easement over the front half of the parent lot. The deed described the easement as an easement over and across the lands of the grantors in a North and South direction same being an existing roadway from the highway to the lands of the grantees, approximately 20 feet wide to be used for ingress and egress to the lands herein granted.

About 10 years later, defendants’ family created a new lot in the southeast corner of their lot. This would become plaintiff’s lot. The deed provided plaintiff’s lot an easement, and the deed described the easement the same way the 1972 deed described the M lot’s easement.


When plaintiff first moved into his lot in 2019, he began using the West Drive to access his lot. But eventually, plaintiff came to believe the Gravel Drive was the easement described in his deed. Plaintiff sued defendants for trespass and nuisance, alleging the Gravel Drive was his easement and defendants were interfering with his right to use it.

Bench Trial

At the bench trial, defendant indicated that when the defendants moved onto their lot in 1972, the Gravel Drive did not exist yet only the West Drive did. Specifically, defendant testified his father put in the Gravel Drive a few years after 1972. Also, defendant testified that only the West Drive connected to plaintiff’s lot, as the Gravel Drive never connected to plaintiff’s lot. He testified all his family members who had lived on plaintiff’s lot before plaintiff, used the West Drive to access plaintiff’s lot.

Plaintiff offered no evidence to controvert defendant’s testimony that only the West Drive existed at the time the defendants received the deed to their lot. But plaintiff did offer evidence controverting defendant’s testimony about whether the Gravel Drive connected to plaintiff’s lot.

The trial court concluded the evidence showed the West Drive was the easement described in plaintiff’s deed, and plaintiff failed to prove otherwise. The trial court entered a judgment declaring the West Drive was plaintiff’s easement.

Assistance with Easement Disputes

Are you involved in an easement dispute with your neighbor? If you are facing an easement dispute you should seek the advice of an experienced and skilled real estate attorney. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced real estate litigation attorneys, contact our law office in Plymouth, Michigan.

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MICHIGAN WILLS/TRUSTS 33: Trustees required to provide notice informing recipients that they may challenge the validity of a trust and the period allowed for bringing such a challenge.

The notice sent clearly advised her that if she wanted to contest the validity of the Trust in a judicial proceeding, the law required her to do so within six months from the date of the letter. Nothing in the statute requires a trustee to inform the recipients of the specific legal consequences of not acting during the time allowed.

MICHIGAN REAL ESTATE 97: The court imposed a constructive trust on defendant’s one-half interest in the property in favor of plaintiff.

The trial court found that plaintiff sustained her burden of establishing that a constructive trust was necessary to prevent defendant from being unjustly enriched. Accordingly, the court imposed a constructive trust on defendant’s one-half interest in the property in favor of plaintiff and ordered defendant to convey his interest in the property to plaintiff.

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.

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