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The attorneys at Serafini, Michalowski, & Derkacz are proud of our successful record of serving clients throughout Michigan with experienced, personal... (more)

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Walter Bieber

Federal Appellate Practice, Trusts, Divorce, Personal Injury
Status:  In Good Standing           

Walter J. Czechowski

Federal Appellate Practice, Trusts, Family Law, Personal Injury
Status:  In Good Standing           

John C. Elkhoury

Landlord-Tenant, Traffic, Trusts, Criminal
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  9 Years
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John Patrick Lareau

Trusts, Estate Planning, Estate, Family Law
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  7 Years

Ryan W. Barr

Medicare & Medicaid, Trusts, Guardianships & Conservatorships, Elder Law
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  15 Years

Martin J. Brosnan

Landlord-Tenant, Trusts, Guardianships & Conservatorships, Elder Law
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  37 Years

Patrick Edward Cahill

Traffic, Trusts, Adoption, Collection
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  10 Years

Benjamin Thomas Vader

Trusts, Estate Planning, Elder Law, Administrative Law
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  11 Years

Robert Alex Piraino

Contract, Divorce, Trusts, Medical Products & Devices
Status:  In Good Standing           Licensed:  6 Years

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LEGAL TERMS

ENTITY

An organization, institution or being that has its own existence for legal or tax purposes. An entity is often an organization with an existence separate from i... (more...)
An organization, institution or being that has its own existence for legal or tax purposes. An entity is often an organization with an existence separate from its individual members--for example, a corporation, partnership, trust, estate or government agency. The entity is treated like a person; it can function legally, be sued, and make decisions through agents.

DEVISEE

A person or entity who inherits real estate under the terms of a will.

SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE

The person or institution who takes over the management of trust property when the original trustee has died or become incapacitated.

PROPERTY CONTROL TRUST

Any trust that imposes limits or controls over the rights of trust beneficiaries. These trusts include (1) special needs trusts designed to assist people who ha... (more...)
Any trust that imposes limits or controls over the rights of trust beneficiaries. These trusts include (1) special needs trusts designed to assist people who have special physical, emotional or other requirements, (2) spendthrift trusts designed to prevent a beneficiary from wasting the trust principal; and (3) sprinkling trusts that allow the trustee to decide how to distribute trust income or principal among the beneficiaries.

PROBATE COURT

A specialized court or division of a state trial court that considers only cases concerning the distribution of deceased persons' estate. Called 'surrogate cour... (more...)
A specialized court or division of a state trial court that considers only cases concerning the distribution of deceased persons' estate. Called 'surrogate court' in New York and several other states, this court normally examines the authenticity of a will -- or if a person dies intestate, figures out who receives her property under state law. It then oversees a procedure to pay the deceased person's debts and to distribute her assets to the proper inheritors. See probate.

MINERAL RIGHTS

An ownership interest in the minerals contained in a particular parcel of land, with or without ownership of the surface of the land. The owner of mineral right... (more...)
An ownership interest in the minerals contained in a particular parcel of land, with or without ownership of the surface of the land. The owner of mineral rights is usually entitled to either take the minerals from the land himself or receive a royalty from the party that actually extracts the minerals.

PER CAPITA

Under a will, the most common method of determining what share of property each beneficiary gets when one of the beneficiaries dies before the willmaker, leavin... (more...)
Under a will, the most common method of determining what share of property each beneficiary gets when one of the beneficiaries dies before the willmaker, leaving children of his or her own. For example, Fred leaves his house jointly to his son Alan and his daughter Julie. But Alan dies before Fred, leaving two young children. If Fred's will states that heirs of a deceased beneficiary are to receive the property per capita, Julie and the two grandchildren will each take a third. If, on the other hand, Fred's will states that heirs of a deceased beneficiary are to receive the property per stirpes, Julie will receive one-half of the property, and Alan's two children will share his half in equal shares (through Alan by right of representation).

PROVING A WILL

Convincing a probate court that a document is truly the deceased person's will. Usually this is a simple formality that the executor or administrator easily sat... (more...)
Convincing a probate court that a document is truly the deceased person's will. Usually this is a simple formality that the executor or administrator easily satisfies by showing that the will was signed and dated by the deceased person in front of two or more witnesses. When the will is holographic -- that is, completely handwritten by the deceased and not witnessed, it is still valid in many states if the executor can produce relatives and friends to testify that the handwriting is that of the deceased.

REAL ESTATE AGENT

A foot soldier of the real estate business who shows houses and does most of the other nitty-gritty tasks associated with selling real estate. An agent must hav... (more...)
A foot soldier of the real estate business who shows houses and does most of the other nitty-gritty tasks associated with selling real estate. An agent must have a state license and be supervised by a real estate broker. Most agents are completely dependent upon commissions from sellers for their income, so it pays to find out which side the agent represents (buyer, seller or both) before you place too much trust in the agent's opinion.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

In re Kostin Estate

... We find that, by statute, the trial court was obliged to honor the Totten trusts. Michigan law honors Totten trusts. MCL 487.702 provides, in relevant part: ... Michigan law also provides: Express trusts may be created for any or either of the following purposes: * * *. Fifth. ...

In re Temple Marital Trust

... But appeals from a probate court decision are on the record, not de novo. See MCL 700.1305; MCL 600.866(1); MCR 5.802(B)(1); In re Webb H. Coe Marital and Residuary Trusts, 233 Mich.App. ... In re Coe Trusts, supra; In re Baldwin Trust, supra at 396-397, 733 NW2d 419. ...

In re Mary E. Griffin Revocable Grantor Trust

... Although MCL 700.2518 does not apply to trusts, we conclude that it reflects this state's public policy that a no-contest clause in a trust agreement is unenforceable if there is probable cause for challenging the trust. ... 2 Restatement Trusts, 3d, § 29(c), pp. ...