Probate

18 Feb: Avoiding Will Contests

Anyone who goes to the trouble of having an attorney draft his or her Will quite naturally wants it to be honored by his or her heirs. In short, no Will contests! A lot of clients ask us how to prevent such mischief. The primary drafting tool is, not surprisingly, a clause prohibiting heirs from contesting any provisions of the Will. This prohibition can also be imposed in Trusts. Such provisions are frequently referred to…

26 Apr: Michigan’s New Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

For some time, estate planners have been aware of the need to provide for access to a decedent’s digital assets.  Michigan recently enacted the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the “Act”), which offers legal tools for passing digital assets to one’ estate, and guiding fiduciaries who must administer their decedent’s estate. Digital assets can take many forms.  Facebook and LinkedIn accounts are generally considered digital assets, although the more important assets for purposes of…

14 Apr: Undue Influence: The Formidable Burden of Proof

A recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision illustrates once again just how difficult it can be to prove a case of undue influence. In the case of In re Peace Estate, the daughters of the deceased (Jeannette) contested their mother’s will because they were cut out of her will.  They were opposed by Jeannette’s brother and sister-in-law.  The daughters were able to present evidence that their aging mother had become forgetful, had suffered from Alzheimer’s,…