Christopher J. Berry’s Answers

Christopher J. Berry

Bloomfield Hills Elder Law Attorney.

Contributor Level 9
  1. My ex-husband just passed; Does his estate need to go to probate?

    Answered almost 3 years ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Christopher J. Berry
    3. Carol A. Morris
    4. Jason A. Waddell
    5. Eliz C A Johnson
    5 lawyer answers

    Probably not if there were no assets. If he had a last will and testament it will have to be delivered to the probate court. If he had under roughly $20,000 in assets a small estate affidavit procedure would be available.

    1 lawyer agreed with this answer

  2. Is there a way to protect assets for spouse when husband has nursing home costs?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Christopher J. Berry
    3. Evelyn Watts Cloninger
    4. William G. Hammond
    4 lawyer answers

    Yes, assets can be protected for the spouse not living in the nursing home (community spouse). Through the use of trusts, the community spouse can protect anything over the protected amount. I'd recommend you speak with an elder law attorney sooner rather than later to minimize the lost of assets to the nursing home.

    1 lawyer agreed with this answer

  3. Does conservatorship trump durable power of attorney?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Christopher J. Berry
    2. James P. Frederick
    3. Trevor J. Weston
    3 lawyer answers

    Most likely the conservatorship will control. You may want to consult an attorney and bring up these issues in court-- the may appoint a court appointed guardian ad litem to advocate on behalf of you sister.

    2 people marked this answer as helpful

  4. Can I get guardianship of my grandchildren?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Christopher J. Berry
    3. Jonathan Beau Dial
    3 lawyer answers

    From the sounds of it, the children need a stable environment, and you may have a chance go get guardianship of your grandchildren. The key in court will be to establish the stability of the environment you can provide.

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  5. Do I need a probate lawyer?

    Answered almost 3 years ago.

    1. Francis N. Soave
    2. Christopher J. Berry
    3. James P. Frederick
    4. Michael S. Haber
    4 lawyer answers

    Quite a few issues going on here, title on the deed would control unless a court rules otherwise for some reason. I would hire an attorney if the value of the estate is worth it and get involved in the probate estate.

  6. How do you decide what county to file probate in?

    Answered about 3 years ago.

    1. Leon Labrecque
    2. Christopher J. Berry
    3. James P. Frederick
    4. Steven J. Fromm
    4 lawyer answers

    The domicile of the decedent or where there is property.

  7. How long does it take to distribute funds from an estate that has been in probate for 2 1/2 years?

    Answered about 3 years ago.

    1. Kenneth V. Zichi
    2. James P. Frederick
    3. Christopher J. Berry
    3 lawyer answers

    A probate estate in Michigan typically only needs to remain open for a period of 5 months at minimum. After that it is just a matter of the personal representative being able to inventory, account, and then distribute the property after creditors have been paid off.

  8. I bought my home in my name but was married at the time. Will my husband have to deal with probate in order to keep our home

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Christopher J. Berry
    2 lawyer answers

    As a general rule, assets can pass through joint ownership, beneficiary designation, trust or probate when someone passes away. If an asset is held joint owners with right of survivorship, then when one owner passes away, the asset remains with the survivor. This process would avoid probate. However, if both joint owners pass, the asset may end up in probate. In your case, you may want a trust, a new deed, or even a lady bird deed.

  9. Can a beneficiary and trustee be the same individual?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Geraldine Anne Brown
    2. Todd D. Schmitz
    3. Christopher J. Berry
    4. Thomas Edward Rossmeissl
    4 lawyer answers

    Yes. For example, when you create a living trust, you serve all three major roles of trustmaker, trustee, and beneficiary. Then, if you were to pass, the role of trustee would pass to the successor trustee you have named. The trustee would manage the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

  10. At what age does legal guardianship end? Does legal guardianship continue after the dependent becomes an adult (age 18?)?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Christopher J. Berry
    3. William C. Mack
    3 lawyer answers

    Guardianship ends at age 18, unless, as the above posters mentioned there was incapacity.