Now Accepting New Clients!

Wills and Trusts

Originally posted on: 02/14/2014

A will and trust document is front and center with legal notes beside it.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 learn from them.

Keep reading to review a case with us on wills and trusts

The Will and Trust Case in General

The Michigan Court of Appeals held, among other things, that the respondent-Trustee breached his fiduciary duties by failing to administer the RS Trust and the DS Trust in accordance with their terms when he conditioned distribution to some beneficiaries on the signing of a release and indemnification in his favor "because neither trust provided for such conditions on distributions." It also held that the probate court clearly erred in finding that some of the breaches of fiduciary duties alleged by the petitioners-beneficiaries did not cause them harm.

Exploring the Opinions of the Case

Thus, the court reversed part B of the probate court's opinion and directed the probate court on remand to determine the appropriate remedy for these breaches pursuant to MCL 700.7901 and MCL 700.7902.

The case involved three trusts. Petitioners filed a petition to remove the trustee, for surcharge of the trustee, trust supervision, and appointment of a successor trustee, alleging that respondent breached various fiduciary duties owed to petitioners that resulted in damages.

On appeal, petitioners argued that respondent breached various fiduciary duties, and the probate court clearly erred in concluding that the only breach of a fiduciary duty that occurred was when respondent attempted to sell a parcel of property known as the River Property. "Nowhere in the probate court's opinion and order did the court find that only one breach of fiduciary duties occurred."

The Probate Court's Findings

The probate court found that respondent breached his fiduciary duties when he listed the River Property for sale, and it discussed other alleged breaches - "respondent moving $60,000 out of and back into the trusts' bank account and a mistaken deposit of $9,000 into the trusts' account - and concluded that petitioners and the trusts were not harmed by these incidences."

The probate court took into consideration other alleged breaches of fiduciary duties, and nothing from the language of the order suggested that it concluded there were no other breaches. Rather, it found, "both explicitly and implicitly, that there were no other breaches of fiduciary duties that harmed petitioners and warranted a remedy from the court." However, the court concluded that the respondent breached his fiduciary duty to keep petitioners reasonably informed about the administration of the trust in regard to his intent to begin collecting trustee compensation, and given that the probate court awarded him trustee fees, petitioners were harmed by this breach.

Further, because additional breaches of fiduciary duties existed that were not found by the probate court, the court held that the probate court clearly erred in finding that petitioners' action, aside from the River Property issue, was frivolous. Thus, the court vacated the $59,398 sanction against one of the petitioners. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.

Turn to Aldrich Legal Services When You Need an Experienced Attorney

This is just one of the many cases we have reviewed for you. If you need legal representation for criminal defense, divorce, or many other legal needs, consider Aldrich Legal Services. Give us a call today to chat through your situation.

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...

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