Now Accepting New Clients!

WILLS AND TRUST 11: The court held that the probate court abused its discretion by granting appellee-successor trustee’s petitions without providing appellant the opportunity to object in accordance with MCR 5.119(B).

This case arises from the creation of the (Trust) by Decedent.   At the time the Trust was formed, Decedent chose herself as trustee, and named as residuary trust heirs her three children: including appellant.   In addition, the Trust named appellant as first successor trustee.  Decedent died on March 2, 2014, at which time appellant assumed trustee responsibilities. The probate court exercised jurisdiction over the Trust on July 9, 2015. Ultimately, the probate court suspended appellant as trustee, and appointed appellee as the new successor trustee on May 12, 2016. On May 1, 2019, appellee filed a petition to allow first, second, and final accounts. Subsequently, appellee filed a petition for full trust settlement on May 2. Appellant filed written objections on June 13, the same date in which the hearing on the petitions occurred. During the hearing, appellant’s attorney placed objections on the record. In response, the probate court stated that it would not allow Appellant’s objections at the hearing thinking it was another delay tactic. The probate court granted the petition for full trust settlement as well as the petition to allow first, second, and final accounts. Appellant now appeals to this Court.


On appeal, appellant contends that the probate court erred when it refused to hear her objections to appellee’s petition for full trust settlement in accordance with MCR 5.119(B). We agree.  This Court considers an issue of court rule interpretation as a matter of law that is reviewed de novo. Statutory interpretation principles apply to the application and interpretation of court rules. A reviewing court begins its analysis by focusing on the language of the court rule.  At issue in the present appeal is MCR 5.119, which addresses petitions, objections, and hearing practices in probate court. Specifically, MCR 5.119 provides for the following: (B) Objection to Pending Matter. An interested person may object to a pending petition orally at the hearing or by filing and serving a document which conforms with MCR 1.109(D) and MCR 5.113. Through counsel, appellant filed written objections, and presented those objections for consideration by the probate court during the June 13, 2019 hearing, as permitted by MCR 5.119(B). However, the probate court did not allow the objections.  The probate court also noted the age of the case, and alleged that appellant waited until June 13 to file objections for purposes of delay. However, the plain language of MCR 5.119 does not provide discretion to a probate court on whether to accept a party’s objections. MCR 5.119 allows for a petition and any objection to be filed, which provides the framework for a probate court to decide if additional briefing and oral arguments are necessary. In this case, the record and, in particular, the probate judge’s own words show that the probate court dismissed appellant’s June 13, 2019 oral and written objections without proper consideration. Therefore, we hold that the probate court abused its discretion when it granted appellee’s petitions without providing appellant the opportunity to object in accordance with MCR 5.119(B). We vacate the probate court’s June 13, 2019 order and remand for further proceedings. We further note that the court rule does not appear to require an evidentiary hearing on the objections raised. MCR 5.119(B) and (D) make clear that a court “may” adjourn a hearing based on an oral objection, “may” require that briefs be filed before oral argument on a petition or objection, and may “limit” oral argument on the petition or objection. We do not retain jurisdiction.


If you have lost a loved one, the last thing you should have to deal with at this time is the confusing and often frustrating process of probate.

Aldrich Legal Services offers comprehensive guidance throughout the probate process. We offer probate services for clients whose loved ones died with or without a will and trust.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000

PROBATE 42: Dissolution of professional corporation.

This case involves the estate of a doctor whose professional corporation also had to be dissolved upon his death. The personal representative of the estate sold the company’s assets but did not pay off the company’s debts before transferring the proceeds to the estate and distributing them to the heirs.

REAL ESTATE 73: Quiet title action.

This case involves a dispute over real property located in Michigan. W and V who are D’s parents, acquired the property. In 1999, W and V conveyed the property to the Trust, to which W is the sole trustee, via a quit claim deed. At some point...

How Is Alimony Determined In A Michigan Divorce?

Originally posted on 06/22/2018. When filing for divorce in Michigan, you may seek alimony, spousal support, from their spouse whenever they require financial aid. A judge may order your spouse to pay certain alimony. However, it depends...

Is My Conviction Eligible for Expungement?

Originally posted on 10/11/2019. At one point or another, we have all made mistakes. For some people, those mistakes involved breaking the law. Convictions have a large impact on someone’s life. Beyond the sentencing ranging from...

PROBATE 45: The court held that the probate court did not err by granting summary disposition for Plaintiff, or by denying Defendant’s request for an extension of the discovery period, adjournment of mediation, and issuance of subpoenas and by dismi

This case arises out of competing petitions for probate. On November 19, 2018, Defendant initiated this case by filing a petition for probate, attaching Decedent’s death certificate and purported last will and testament, dated March 9, 2007,...

DIVORCE 57: Holding that the trial court’s factual findings were not supported by the record evidence, and thus could not stand, the court reversed, vacated the portion of the Amended Default JOD ordering defendant to pay $3,325 to plaintiff, and re

Plaintiff first testified that she and defendant purchased the marital home in 1995. At the time the first default judgment of divorce was entered in September 2017, plaintiff had the home appraised. The value of the home was determined to be...

FAMILY LAW 68: The court held that the satisfaction of the statute relating to the termination of parental rights does not necessarily provide clear and convincing evidence in a parenting time dispute that a child will be harmed by reintroduction to

In a separate case, defendant’s parents filed a petition to terminate plaintiff’s parental rights and adopt RM on the ground that plaintiff had been absent from RM’s life for over three years. One month before the petition was...

FAMILY LAW 66: The court affirmed the trial court’s retroactive child support modification as to the second credit to which plaintiff-mother admitted at the referee hearing, and reversed and remanded as to the trial court’s equitable abatement of th

The parties have two children in common, and both children are now adults. The parties were never married, but plaintiff was granted custody and defendant was ordered to pay child support. After the youngest child turned eighteen, defendant sought a...

FAMILY LAW 65: The court held that because the ECE was not altered by the change of school districts, the referee properly applied the preponderance of the evidence standard when reviewing the best interest and parenting time factors.

BASIC FACTS The parties divorced in 2018. Their judgment of divorce provided that plaintiff would have primary physical custody and that the parties would have joint legal custody of the two minor children. The judgment of divorce stated that the...

FAMILY LAW 64: The court reversed the trial court’s order granting joint physical and legal custody of the parties’ children to defendant-father, concluding that the trial court improperly conflated his motion to change custody with plaintiff-mother

The parties divorced in 2013. The judgment of divorce granted mother sole physical and legal custody and ordered that the child’s domicile would remain in Michigan. In 2015, the trial court granted mother’s motion to change domicile,...

5 Common Misdemeanors Affecting People in Michigan

Originally posted on 11/08/2019 There are many different levels of crime and the consequences once someone has been charged with them. One bracket of crimes is known as a misdemeanor. Let’s go over this level of crime and some common...

PROBATE 44: The court held that the probate court did not err by declaring a will executed by the decedent invalid on the basis that she lacked testamentary capacity to execute it and that it was the product of petitioner’s undue influence.

Defendant and Decedent met in August 2017. In approximately November 2017, Decedent began talking constantly about wanting Defendant to take her to see an attorney for the purpose of changing her will. On March 19, 2018, Defendant filed a petition...

Michigan Expungement Law Updates For 2021

There has been a new law regarding expungements for the state of Michigan.  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that expands the criteria for expungements related to traffic offenses, marijuana convictions, and minor...

Wills and Trusts

Originally posted on: 02/14/2014 Aldrich Legal Service provides legal advice and representation for residents in Plymouth, Ann Arbor, and Southeast Michigan. We also review recent legal cases to examine what took place and what we can...

REAL ESTATE 68: Holding that plaintiffs-buyers’ allegations of fraud in this case arising from the sale of a residence did not preclude the trial court from granting defendants’ motion for summary disposition based on a release, the court affirmed.

This cause of action arises from plaintiffs’ purchase of a residence from defendant, who had rights in the house under a land contract from co-defendant, the legal owner of the house. Before the house was for sale, in January 2018, an upstairs...

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