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Where trust's principal place of administration is in another state, Michigan courts lack jurisdiction to administer trust

The court held that the trust's principal place of administration is in Florida, and that the trial court erred in concluding it had subject-matter jurisdiction. Appellee-JP Morgan, as successor trustee, was not allowed to transfer that principal place of administration without complying with the requirements of FSA 736.0108(6) and (7). Thus, the trial court was without subject-matter jurisdiction to entertain appellees' petition under MCL 700.7205. The court reversed the probate court's orders holding that it had subject-matter jurisdiction over the trust and granting a petition for limited supervision to allow the trustee to change the situs of the trust, remove JP Morgan as trustee, and appoint appellee-Lyneis as successor trustee. MCL 700.7203(1) grants Michigan probate courts broad and exclusive jurisdiction over "proceedings in this state brought by a trustee or beneficiary that concern the administration of a trust . . . ." However, "MCL 700.7205(1) provides that, '[i]f a party [such as appellant in this case] objects, the court shall not entertain a proceeding under [MCL 700.7203] that involves a trust that is registered or that has its principal place of administration in another state[.]'" Appellant-Marcella Seneker argued, and the court agreed, that the trust's principal place of administration was in Florida. When it was created in 1974, Stanley, as the sole trustee, resided in Michigan and, thus, the principal place of administration of the trust was in Michigan. However, in 1997, he amended and completely restated the trust. By this time, he had become a resident of Florida, as stated in the preamble to the restated trust. "This amendment and restatement was prepared, executed, witnessed, and notarized in Florida," where, at the time, both he and appellant (his spouse) resided. At the time of his death, the principal place of administration of the trust was in Florida. Appellees asserted that as successor trustee upon Stanley's death, JP Morgan validly transferred the principal place of administration of the trust to Michigan, thus providing the Michigan probate court with subject-matter jurisdiction. Appellant asserted that JP Morgan had to comply with FSA 736.0108(6) and (7), which require that a "trustee seeking to transfer provide notice to all qualified beneficiaries and suspends the trustee's authority to transfer should one of those beneficiaries object within 60 days." JP Morgan did not provide such notice here. Appellees argued that the trust provision trumped the notice requirements of FSA 736.0108(6) and (7). Charged with determining whether Stanley intended that the trust provision should override the notice provisions of FSA 736.0108(6) and (7), the court held that he did not.


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