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.
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Posts in the Wills and Trusts category:
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.
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.
WILLS/TRUSTS 31: Petitioner disputes transfers to trust and filed petitions to have the funds and property returned to her.
The court found no basis to void the transfers based on EC’s evidence. Based on her testimony, the probate court had evidence to support the finding that ED did know what she had signed and the effects of it but simply did not remember.
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.
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 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.
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.
In addition, the attorney who assisted with the signings testified that before the signings he talked with JV to see if he understood what was happening and stated that he had no information and observed no signs indicating that JV was not competent.
Originally posted on 11/02/2016 When considering estate planning, you are probably aware of the role of a will. While the traditional thought associated with a will is how property is handled after death, it can also be used to plan for...
An individual designated as personal representative in a decedent’s will has priority of appointment unless he or she is disqualified or subject to a specified exception.
Originally posted on 10/31/2016 It can be difficult to consider the end of our lives when we are in good health. However, lives can change at any moment, so it is wise to be prepared for any situation that may arise. Despite the many...
A patent ambiguity exists if an uncertainty concerning the meaning appears on the face of the instrument and arises from the use of defective, obscure, or insensible language.
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,...
WILLS AND TRUST 12: The court was not left with a definite and firm conviction that the probate court erred when it found that Appellant did not establish a persistent failure of Appellee to effectively administer the Trust.
Appellant’s father created the Trust in May 2008. The Trust was amended several times, including in May 2012, when it was declared that the Trust would become irrevocable upon decedent’s death. Decedent died in May 2015, and Appellant...
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...
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...
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...
PROBATE 43: The court affirmed the probate court order dismissing appellant’s petition to set aside the decedent’s 2018 will and admit his 2003 will for failure to create a genuine issue of material fact.
Appellant is one of three surviving children of Decedent, along with two other siblings. Decedent executed his last will in 2018, revoking a prior will from 2003. The 2018 will affirmatively made no dispositive provisions for appellant or her...
PROBATE 42: The court held that the trial court did not err by granting defendant summary disposition of plaintiff-PR’s fraud and conversion action on the basis that it was barred by a prior judgment.
Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant alleging statutory and common law conversion. In July 2018, a global settlement was reached as to the various matters pending in the probate court. Relevant to this appeal, Plaintiff’s conversion claims...
WILLS AND TRUST 10: THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT ERR IN GRANTING APPELLEE’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY DISPOSITION
PERTINENT FACTS This case concerns a dispute regarding the disbursement of Lakeside Trust Number 1 (“Lakeside Trust”), a trust created by appellee in relation to her mother’s trust, the EJA Trust . The grantor and settlor of the...
WILLS AND TRUST 9: THE COURT REJECTED A BENEFICIARY’S CLAIM THAT RESPONDANT VIOLATED HIS TRUSTEE DUTIES AND UPHELD THE COURT’S IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS.
PERTINENT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY The trust settler, “decedent” executed a “pour-over” will in which the residuary of his estate was to be held, managed, and distributed according to the trust, which was created in...
WILLS AND TRUST 8: A SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE WAS ABLE TO MAKE DISTRIBUTIONS TO HIMSELF UNDER BOTH A POWER OF ATTORNEY AND UNDER THE TERMS OF A TRUST
PERTINENT FACTS In 2010, the decedents created the Trust and dual durable powers of attorney in which each spouse nominated the other to serve as primary attorney-in-fact with respondent to serve as the first alternate. The Trust designated the...
WILLS AND TRUST 7: ESTABLISHED VALUATION METHODS MUST BE USED TO DETERMINE VALUE OF PROPERTY AND GIFTS, WITHOUT DELIVERY, ARE NOT VALID
Plaintiff’s father and plaintiff’s stepmother (defendant) married around 1981. In 2002, the two executed an “Agreement of Trust” prepared by their estate planning attorney. The Agreement of Trust created a Trust...
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...
Everyone reacts in their own way when a family member passes away. Emotions can run high, and people can react more strongly than they normally would. Some family members may feel cheated by what a will or trust grants them leading them to contest...
More and more people are conducting personal business and their social life through online applications. Email, banking, bill payment, investments, credit cards, social media and photo sharing are all types of digital assets. Digital Assets...
We live in uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a disruption to normal life and a real danger to many people, especially those who are ill or elderly. While you take steps to protect yourself, your family, and your community,...
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...
The mother essentially disinherited her family, leaving $1,000 to each of her children, $500 to each of her grandchildren, and a watch to a granddaughter. The remainder of the mother’s estate flowed to the boyfriend.
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.
WILLS/TRUSTS 18: Probate court erred in concluding that a statute of limitations barred plaintiffs’ claims challenging the Trust.
Plaintiffs requested a declaration that all amendments to the Trust executed after April 2007 were void because Settlor did not have capacity to execute them, and because Settlor was unduly influenced by her son.
According to the motion, Article III only allowed the identification and distribution of heirlooms, not all personal property. P argued that the John Deere tractor and other valuable items were not heirlooms and should not have been distributed to N.
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.
The fact that an irrevocable trust, which includes former assets of an institutionalized spouse, can make payments to a community spouse does not automatically render the assets held by the trust countable for the purpose of an institutionalized spouse’s initial eligibility determination.