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WILLS/TRUSTS 30: Bank cannot assert standing as a personal representative because the court held that it was not a successor co-personal representative.

Following the death of the decedent, B filed a petition in the probate court seeking intestate probate of the decedent’s estate and to be appointed the sole personal representative. Soon after, C Bank filed a petition in the probate court seeking to probate the decedent’s will and to be appointed co-personal representative of his estate.

Sole Personal Representative

The decedent’s will contain the following provision concerning who would serve as his personal representative: I nominate, constitute, and appoint B and N BANK as Co-Personal Representatives of this, my Last Will and Testament. If at any time either is unwilling or unable to act, then the other shall serve as sole Personal Representative

Following the execution of the will but prior to the decedent’s death, N Bank was acquired by C Bank. C Bank alleged that, as the corporate successor to N Bank, it was entitled to serve as co-personal representative. It submitted that state banking rules permitted the substitution. However, B asserted that she was entitled to serve as the sole personal representative because N Bank no longer existed, and the will did not provide for a successor to substitute for N Bank.


C Bank alleged that there was a reason for the bank to serve in the role of co-personal representative because, as a fiduciary, it would ensure accountability and professionalism. On the contrary, B’s counsel claimed that, as the personal representative, she had secured the decedent’s property and sold it and would ensure that the stepchildren receive their share of the trust.

Following the hearing, the court entered an order appointing B as sole personal representative. The court stated that the will contained no language indicating the ‘successors and assigns’ of N Bank would act as Personal Representative if N Bank was unable to act.

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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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