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A Better Partnership

Publications

Feb 2019
18
February 18, 2019

Probate Litigation - Winter 2019

Trial Attorneys | Inheritance Disputes | Elder Law Issues

 

What We Do

We handle all issues relating to inheritance disputes and vulnerable people:
 
  • Charitable gift disputes
  • Trust disputes
  • Will disputes
  • Power of attorney disputes
  • Life insurance disputes
  • Joint account disputes
  • Sibling disputes
  • Blended family disputes
  • Guardianship disputes
  • Conservatorship disputes
  • Trust/estate creditor issues
  • Seeking to remove a trustee or executor
  • Getting more information from a trustee or executor
  • Defending a trustee or executor
  • Protecting an elderly person from financial abuse
  • Obtaining judgments against a person who took advantage of an elderly person
  • Challenges to a will or trust’s validity
  • Challenges to a property transfer’s validity
  • Forgery issues
  • Claims of mental incapacity
  • Claims of undue influence
  • Appointment of guardians (adult and children)
  • Appointment of conservator (adult and children)
  • Seeking to remove a guardian or conservator
  • Modifying an existing guardianship or conservatorship
  • Modifying a trust
  • Obtaining court clarification of a trust’s terms
  • Memorializing a family agreement
 

Big Wins

Laura — Defends A University’s Largest Gift in School History

Laura represented Ferris State University and helped secure the University’s largest gift in its 134-year history: $6.59 million. Disgruntled family members sought to undo the entire gift to Ferris in court. Laura has extensive experience with clients in disputes over inheritances, including defending a $25 million dispute to a nonprofit, and Laura put this experience to work for Ferris:  
 

“[Laura] demonstrated the breadth of her legal expertise and knowledge to represent the University in what turned out to be a particularly complex probate court dispute[.] Some folks forget the difference that good lawyering makes[.] I can tell you that we would not have achieved this result at all, had Laura not so carefully positioned the case[.] She did an extraordinary job and it will make a difference for many generations of pharmacy students, which is exactly what [the donor] intended.”  
Miles J. Postema, Vice President and General Counsel, Ferris State University.


David — Wrote an Amicus Brief that Corrected Michigan Law

The Michigan Court of Appeals’ 2017 decision in In re: Brody Trust caused great concern to trust and estate attorneys because it held that a trust settlor’s child always has the right to file a lawsuit regarding the trust in probate court. Previously, Michigan law allowed a trust settlor’s child to bring a trust lawsuit only under narrow circumstances. The Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan filed an amicus brief (drafted by David) with the Michigan Supreme Court, asking it to reverse the decision. The Michigan Supreme Court remanded the case to the Court of Appeals, which revised its decision consistent with the Probate Section’s amicus brief, which the Court of Appeals found “persuasive.” Trust and estate attorneys breathed a sigh of relief after this decision was corrected.  
 

Community Involvement

Probate Council 

David was elected Secretary of the Probate and Estate Planning Council, the governing body of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the Michigan State Bar committed to improving the practice of law in this area. He also concluded his five-year term as Chair of the Council’s Amicus Committee.

58th Annual Probate & Estate Planning Institute 

David gave the fiduciary litigation case law update at ICLE’s 2018 Probate Institute in both Acme and Plymouth, and he is scheduled to give this update in 2019 as well.

Leadership Grand Rapids

Laura is a graduate of the Leadership Grand Rapids Class of 2018. Leadership Grand Rapids is a nine-month community leadership program committed to enhancing and connecting leaders from business, nonprofits and government.

Family Promise of Grand Rapids

In 2018, Laura was added as a board member for Family Promise of Grand Rapids, a nonprofit that provides emergency shelter and affordable housing for families. 

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