Skip to main content
James P. Frederick

James Frederick’s Answers

13,746 total


  • Does a quit claim deed go into effect the date it's signed, or on the date it's filed with the ROD? It was signed in July 2012.

    Dad has Alzheimer's, and is on a waiting list for an assisted living home. He owns his home and the house and property where he was raised. He signed the QC deeds, listing me and my sisters as grantees, in July of 2012. They haven't been filed w...

    James’s Answer

    You are in a gray area. The deed is effective when signed, but the State may have an argument that since it was not recorded, it was not "delivered" during lifetime. Depending on how the deed was set up, you may be better off recording it, now, to avoid that argument. I would have it reviewed by an estate planning attorney, before you do so, however.

    James Frederick

    See question 
  • If a sibling has their name on our mom's house, property and bank accounts and there is no will, is the sibling entitled to all

    My 85 year old mother passed away in April and my father 22 years prior. My 55 year old sister resided with my mother and father her entire life. Another sibling and myself both married and both have children. The last three years "Mom" had been s...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues, but there really are not enough facts included to answer your questions. The first question is how the assets are titled and the next issue is how it got to be that way. If the transfers and/or beneficiary designations were made by your mother while she had capacity to do so and there was no undue influence by your sister, then you have a VERY difficult case. If the changes were made by your sister, while acting for your mother under a durable power of attorney form, then you have a very good chance of setting them aside. If the changes were made under any other circumstances, it depends on the facts.

    In any situation, the best way to determine where you stand is to meet with a probate attorney and share all of the facts.

    James Frederick

    See question 
  • Does the person Does the person that we are subletting a room from kick me out without no notice?

    I have a lease with the dept of Dhs and he making us leave wensday the first and I have children. What are my rights?

    James’s Answer

    You are entitled to at least 7 days notice and more likely 30 days notice. If he does not give you adequate notice, then he could be liable for damages. You have 30 days, at the most, however, which goes by very quickly. You should start looking for another place to live.

    James Frederick

    See question 
  • I live in MI , My fiancee now in AZ. He called off the engagement .Do I have to return the ring ?

    He originally lived inMI but now lives in AZ. . It was my intent to follow him within two years . However lack of employment and absence made the heart grow distance . he has chosen to call off the engagement . I am willing to continue to work tow...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Kronzek. The ring is a conditional gift, under Michigan law, conditioned on the marriage taking place.

    James Frederick

    See question 
  • I walked away from home purchase. Who is legally justified in getting earnest deposit?

    Long story short.... I made an offer, it was countered, I accepted. After the inspection, I wanted an issue fixed, they countered by giving us more concessions, I accepted. Now the issues... The appraisial came in low. My agent reached o...

    James’s Answer

    Your answer depends on what it says in the contract that you signed. Most of the time, the documents provide a contingency based on the property appraising for the value required to obtain financing. It sounds like that has not occurred in your case. If your agreement has such language, you would be free to walk away. If it is not clear what the contract says, you should review it with an attorney.

    James Frederick

    See question 
  • Hello I leased an apartment for 1 year I ce home today and had a letter one door starring my lease is up at the end of July

    And it's not up till September and they won't tell me why is this legal

    James’s Answer

    It sounds like they either made a mistake or perhaps your lease calls for you to give them three months notice if you intend to stay for another term.

    I would contact the landlord to determine what is going on.

    James Frederick

    See question 
  • What is the role of a Guardian Ad Litem?

    What is the role of the Gaurdian Ad Litem? What are they required to do?My children were taken from me and placed into the care of my mother. Was the Guardian Ad Litem supposed to attend a visitation at my mother's home and watch how I interacted ...

    James’s Answer

    A GAL is the "eyes and ears" of the court. The GAL investigates the circumstances and makes a report and recommendation(s) to the judge. The GAL often interviews the interested persons and is required to do so, in some cases. If you believe that your rights were not protected in the prior proceeding, the best thing you can do is visit with a probate attorney to determine how best to proceed from here. You need to keep in mind that the GAL's primary focus is on the minor and in almost every case they are involved in, the situation is contested. They are very used to dealing with "he said/she said" cases and it is not always possible to determine the truth, when the party's stories are wildly conflicting. It IS possible to overcome a negative GAL report, but it is not easy to do so. That is where having a good attorney can make a difference.

    James Frederick

    See question 
  • Custody of children upon death of both parents.

    People have recommended those DIY wills when we've discussed it in the past, however, my husband and I are wondering if we should actually have our will done in a more professional capacity in regards to the custody of our children should we both ...

    James’s Answer

    While I agree with the prior answer, and nominating guardians is the best reason to execute a will, if you have any significant assets at all, avoiding probate can be critically important, and you cannot do that with wills. If you have assets and the kids are minors, then you should strongly consider executing a trust. That is also not a DIY project. An estate planning attorney can make sure things are set up properly, to take care of your children. They are important enough to make sure that you get this done right.

    James Frederick

    See question 
  • Where to file for Letters of Authority

    Mom has died. Appointed me as PR. Both she and I live in the State of Michigan. I live in one County and she had lived in another. About 65 miles one way. Reviewing her assets, I feel I will need legal counsel. Should I hire a lawyer in th...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Ms. Paquette. Your attorney can be anywhere. The probate will need to be filed in the county where your mother resided. Most of the time, filings can be done by mail. It sounds like your mother's lawyer did you a disservice. I think you will find that most lawyers are far more helpful than she was. There are many websites that provide information on the probate process. You may want to review some of those to get a better feel for what is involved. Oakland County Probate Court has brochures which are generally pretty helpful and informative. You can find those, here: https://www.oakgov.com/courts/probate/Documents/in-house/8-plan-admin-dec-est.pdf

    James Frederick

    See question 
  • How to get Letters of Authority

    Can you get Letters of Authority by going to the Court house and filing paperwork? Is it required to have a lawyer? What paperwork is required? How long does it take for processing? The Notice of Creditors has already been published, Will an...

    James’s Answer

    You have a lot of questions and there is not enough information to fully answer them. If the account in question is the only asset that would otherwise need probate, depending on the amount involved, you may be able to use a non-probate and/or small estate process that would be relatively easy and inexpensive. The threshold for small estates in Michigan is $22k. There are proceedings, however, which DO involve the court, where you can use small estate proceedings, even if the gross estate is over $22k, provided the net estate is not.

    If the account is over the small estate level, then probate will be necessary. There is a lot of information online, as to what is involved. You can check our website for a description of the process. There is also information on many of the county Probate Court sites. Having the assistance of an attorney is not required, but it is often a good idea and can result in less frustration and often lower cost than trying to handle things on your own.

    Presumably, there is an attorney advising the Trustee. I would contact that attorney to determine how best to proceed.

    James Frederick

    See question