The trial court concluded that the first Lady Bird deed did not convey any interest to L until the death of both grantors, and RPC, as the conservator, did not violate any statutory duties but was entitled to execute a Lady Bird deed in fulfilling its fiduciary obligations to the protected individual, B.
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MICHIGAN WILLS/TRUSTS 32: The probate court found that the Memo substantially complied with the Trust’s method for amendment.
The probate court also found that the Memo substantially complied with the Trust’s method for amendment, as required by statute, and that the Memo was not merely an attempt to distribute personal property. The probate court granted petitioner’s motion for summary disposition, confirming the validity of the Memo as a trust amendment.
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.
When defendant petitioned to close the estates and admit the wills to probate, plaintiffs objected, arguing that decedents were subject to coercion and undue influence by defendant.
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.
PROBATE 54: The probate court removed the current bank as trustee because the Trust could not afford the fees.
The court questioned whether the fees, which were standard for the bank, were reasonable for the Trust. The Court reiterated its concern that this particular Trust cannot afford the bank as a trustee.
A settlor’s intent is to be carried out as nearly as possible. Generally, in terrorem clauses are valid and enforceable. However, a provision in a trust that purports to penalize an interested person for contesting the trust or instituting another proceeding relating to the trust shall not be given effect if probable cause exists for instituting a proceeding contesting the trust or another proceeding relating to the trust.
In this case, the adult children contend that the probate court abused its discretion by appointing public administrator as successor guardian and conservator, and that the probate court instead was required by EPIC to give priority to the children because there was no evidence that they were unsuitable for those appointments.
PROBATE 52: Court ordered the return of all estate property in his possession or face a per-day fine.
After testimony from several witnesses, and argument from the parties, the trial court found, in relevant part, that the evidence demonstrated Kenneth took and kept various items of estate property in flagrant and continual violation of court orders.
The probate court explained that the owners of the account are S and J. When S passes, J becomes the owner of the account. J is the one who had the authority to make the designation. Nowhere in any documents is there a designation by J that SJ be the owner -- or the beneficiary of the account. The designation made by his father was no longer binding because he was no longer the owner at the time J passed away.
PROBATE 50: Court held that she was not a beneficiary of his will or trust because they were revoked when he and her mother divorced.
Under the EPIC, absent express terms to the contrary in the governing instrument, when a testator who has executed a will subsequently divorces his spouse, the divorce revokes any disposition or appointment of property to either the former spouse or the former spouse’s relatives.
Respondent argues that the Mental Health Code, MCL 330.1001 et seq., requires that two separate, independent examinations be conducted before a hearing can be held on a petition for involuntary treatment.
Originally posted on 01/11/2017 The emotional toils of dealing with the death of a loved one can be considerably difficult. Nevertheless, perseverance is paramount; especially if you are appointed to be an executor to one’s...
Decedent nominated respondents as co-personal representatives, bequeathed her entire estate to respondents, and indicated that she intentionally made no provision for petitioner.
In a situation such as this, involving an out-of-state decedent whose Michigan property passes intestate, Article II of EPIC controls, possibly except for the rules regarding spousal election.
WILLS/TRUSTS 29: Burden is on the will contestant to establish the will is void for lack of testamentary capacity.
The right to contest a will is statutory and the burden is on the will contestant to establish the will is void for lack of testamentary capacity. Whether a decedent had testamentary capacity is judged as of the time of the execution of the instrument, and not before or after.
This case arises out of a dispute among the T siblings regarding the administration of their mother’s trust. The trust was executed on August 19, 2010. At that time, the mother was the trust’s settlor and sole trustee. Trust The...
Michigan’s Mental Health Code governs the civil admission and discharge procedures for a person with a mental illness. Specifically, MCL 330.1434 sets forth the procedure and content requirements for a petition for mental health treatment.
To safeguard the ward’s rights, on a petition to terminate a guardianship, the probate court must follow the same procedures that apply to a petition for the appointment of a guardian.
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.
PROBATE 40: THE PROBATE COURT HAS JURISDICTION OVER PROPERTY INTERESTS OF A PROTECTED INDIVIDUAL THAT WERE TRANSFERRED BEFORE A CONSERVATORSHIP CAME INTO EFFECT.
On October 24, 2016, Petitioner filed a complaint as the Ward’s conservator and guardian against Respondent. Petitioner and Respondent are siblings and the children of the Ward. In the complaint, Petitioner alleged that she filed a...
PROBATE 39: When a ward has retained his or her own legal counsel, it is error for the probate court to appoint an attorney.
This case arises from an Adult Protective Services (APS) petition for guardianship of the ward. The ward lived with her son and his wife. APS’s petition filed in June 2018 claimed that the ward had dementia, was being left...
The decedent died intestate in 2017, leaving eight children as his descendants. The probate court appointed a personal representative (PR) of the estate. Intestate If you die without a will then you died intestate. Without a validly executed...
PROBATE 38: A fiduciary has the responsibility of providing notice of a contested matter to all interested persons.
The parties, R, B, and F are siblings whose father, the testator M, devised for the assets of his trust to be distributed among them. R was appointed Personal Representative of the estate and successor trustee of the trust. Petition for Removal...
This case arises from decedent’s sister paying bills on his behalf before his death and requesting reimbursement from his estate on the basis of either a contractual or unjust enrichment basis. Unjust Enrichment Basis The sister...
This probate dispute between siblings arises out of the death of their father. Their father lived alone. In 2013, however, he asked appellee to live with him. She agreed, moving into the home in August 2013. Appellants allege that in the years...
PROBATE 35: Summary disposition under is warranted when there is no genuine issue as to any material fact.
This case arises from a son’s (T) attempt to probate the estate of his mother. Informal Probate His mother executed a will designating T as personal representative. She later executed an amendment to her revocable trust naming T as...
Decedent died on January 9, 2017. An application for informal probate and appointment of personal representative was filed on February 17, 2017. Decedent’s final will, which was executed on March 21, 2011, was admitted to probate. In relevant...
Pursuant to MCL 700.5204(2)(b), in order for a court to consider appointing a guardian, a petitioner must first establish that 1) the parent permits the minor child to reside with another person; 2) the parent does not provide the other person with legal authority for the minor’s care and maintenance; and 3) the minor is not residing with his or her parent when the petition is filed.
The insurance company refused to pay the $35,000 in death proceeds to plaintiff, maintaining that the policy had lapsed in 1999 for nonpayment of premiums.
WILLS/TRUSTS 21: Plaintiff alleged the University failed to use the funds consistent with the terms of the trust.
On April 23, 2018, plaintiff filed suit, alleging (1) breach of contract, namely the University’s failure to use the funds consistent with the terms of the Gift Agreement, and seeking damages or specific performance; (2) breach of fiduciary duty, on account of the University’s failure, as trustee of the charitable trust established by Professor’s gift, to comply with the terms and conditions of the resulting charitable trust; (3) violation of the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, MCL 451.921 et seq.; and (4) the need for injunctive relief prohibiting the dissipation of funds during the pendency of the case.
According to E’s affidavit, he disbelieved the validity of the May 2016 Will, but apparently, he took no further action regarding the Will or the coins at that time.
PROBATE 32: Can you file a breach of fiduciary duty complaint for a disagreement related to the estate?
Plaintiff argued that defendant’s fiduciary duty was to accede to plaintiff’s precise demands and make decisions about matters involving the estate that were in accordance with the outcomes plaintiff desired. Clearly, this is not the nature of a personal representative’s fiduciary duty.
Without a validly executed will, your estate will pass by the rules of intestate succession at the time of your passing, which may or may not achieve your goals.
PROBATE 31: What does a court need for a determination that an individual continues to be involuntarily hospitalized?
Before ordering a course of involuntary mental health treatment or of care and treatment at a center, the court must receive a written report or oral testimony describing the type and extent of treatment that will be provided to the individual and the appropriateness and adequacy of this treatment.
Trial courts may only appoint co-personal representatives if the intended parties agree to the shared status.
PROBATE 29: Denied petition for PR removal because decedent’s brother was not the real party in interest.
An interested person may petition for removal of a personal representative for cause at any time. As the decedent’s surviving parent, the decedent’s mother qualified as an interested person who had a claim against the intestate estate of the decedent
A probate court’s consideration of the couple’s circumstances cannot involve an assumption that the institutionalized spouse should receive 100% free medical care under Medicaid or an assumption that a community spouse is entitled to maintain his or her standard of living. Medicaid is a need-based program, and a Medicaid recipient is obligated to contribute to his or her care.
Respondent, now represented by counsel, filed a motion for reconsideration or relief from the probate court’s order, arguing that the order inappropriately distributed trust assets before other issues in the action were resolved, and arguing further that respondent was prejudiced by his lack of notice and inability to retain counsel before the hearing.