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One Court of Justice Blog

Sep 2017
September 25, 2017

Is a wife who did not physically live with her husband a surviving spouse? The MSC will decide.

In In re Estate of Erwin, No. 153980 and No. 153981, the Michigan Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal the questions of (1) whether the “willfully absent” provision in the Estates and Protected Individuals Code ("EPIC") is defined exclusively by physical separation, or whether it includes consideration of the emotional bonds and connections between spouses; and (2) whether EPIC requires proof that a spouse intends to abandon his or her marital rights. 

Nov 2016
November 14, 2016

COA holds that no signature is required in a will if clear and convincing evidence establishes decedent intended the document to constitute his or her will

In Re Attia Estate, No. 327925, the Court of Appeals held the probate court erred by concluding that an unsigned will cannot be admitted to probate as a matter of law. The sole issue presented on appeal was whether a decedent must sign a will in order for that will to be admitted to probate.

Sep 2016
September 22, 2016

COA: Probate inventory fee must be paid if estate has sufficient assets, even if it means selling the personal representative’s home

The probate inventory fee required under Michigan law is paid from the assets of the estate, not from the personal representative’s own funds, says the Michigan Court of Appeals in consolidated appeals in In re Estate of DeCoste, Nos. 327990 and 327993. The personal representative’s inability to pay is therefore irrelevant to the waiver or suspension of this fee. If the estate’s only property is a single real estate asset, then the personal representative must liquidate it to pay the fee, even if the personal representative is living in that home.

Jul 2016
July 06, 2016

Michigan Supreme Court to Consider Enforceability of Wills Benefiting the Drafting Attorney

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear oral argument on the application in In re Mardigian, No. 152655, to consider whether to overrule In re Powers Estate, 375 Mich 150 (1965).  In re Powers Estate holds that a Michigan court may enforce a will that devises most of the decedent’s estate to the attorney who drafted it, subject only to the presumption that the drafting attorney exercised undue influence over the testator. 

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