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Eric J. Guerin

Eric Guerin’s Answers

74 total


  • Updated zoning ordinance - Setback requirements

    I own a narrow but deep lakefront parcel adjacent to a road that ends at the lake on a northern Michigan lake. This past year the zoning setback requirements have changed from 15 feet to 25 feet, rendering my 40 foot wide lot unbuildable by the ...

    Eric’s Answer

    You should contact a local attorney who handles land use matters. If the lot was buildable prior to the new ordinance it may be grandfathered in. Also, many communities have separate setback requirements for small buildable lots. Land use decisions are entitled to considerable deference by a reviewing court, so get help early and good luck.

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  • We have joint ownership full rights to survivorship and are not married. Our relationship is dissolved. I want to force sale

    To my understanding after all fees are pd to court att ... whats left will be split evenly true?

    Eric’s Answer

    If you are joint tenants with full rights of survivorship "partition" (a forced sale) is not available as a matter of right. There are two estates in land created by this arrangement - a life estate that is subject to partition and an indestructible contingent remainder in each of you that is not subject to partition. An attorney should be able to help you accomplish your objective notwithstanding that difficulty.

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  • Are there separate courts of law and equity in Michigan?

    We made a civil complaint that included causes of action for statutory conversion and unjust enrichment. We filed the complaint in a Michigan district court. The answer of one of the defendants claims that the court does not have jurisdiction be...

    Eric’s Answer

    In Michigan the circuit court is the court of "general jurisdiction," which can exercise plenary equitable jurisdiction. District courts don't generally have equitable jurisdiction, but can sometimes adjudicate entire matters that may involve equitable issues. Talk with a lawyer about your options in light of the specific facts in your case.

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  • Private Nuisance Claim, Recreational Trespass or something else? How can I get this behavior to stop?

    I have a lake cottage in Michigan. My property is adjacent to a road end with a public dock. A non-lakefront neighbor moors his boat on the bottomlands of the road end for hours at a time, but, because of the lake current, the boat rotates about t...

    Eric’s Answer

    The police and townships are reluctant to be involved, but that doesn't mean you have no rights. PA 56 saddled townships and law enforcement with responsibility for road ends they have historically avoided. Contact an attorney who specializes in riparian rights matters. Good luck.

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  • We so appreciate you! I bought a house from a married man. The deeds when he bought and sold it say "single man". Problematic?

    Thank you :)

    Eric’s Answer

    He may have been single when he bought the home. You do not have a problem there, without regard to whether he was single or married. If he was married when you bought the house from him, his wife should have signed the deed to release her dower interest, even if her name was not on the title. That is a problem that you need to address.

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  • How can I legally remove a joint tenant from survivorship property?

    My property is set up as joint tenants with survivorship with my Father and Brother. My Father is in a Nursing home and my brother lives out of State and has NEVER lived here now paid taxes or maintenance costs for 26 years. Now that my Father is ...

    Eric’s Answer

    There is a very recent Michigan court decision discussing this very situation. In summary, a survivorship estate consists of two distinct elements: a life estate that may be partitioned or the subject of adverse possession, and an indestructible contingent remainder. I would recommend that you retain a lawyer in your area with relevant experience.

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  • Homeowner rights

    We have a home in greenville Michigan. We live on a lake and have a dock. What are our rights if somebody with or without our permission to use the dock gets hurt.

    Eric’s Answer

    If a lawsuit is filed because someone gets hurt on your property, even if they are there without your permission, you would likely present the claim to homeowner's insurance carrier. You should check to ensure you have adequate coverage. Though you can undertake efforts to prevent trespassing, your best protection is adequate insurance coverage for any possible claims.

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  • A question regarding an easement on my lake front property.

    An easement was entered into between the previous owner of my property and the homeowner in front of my property to grant him lake access on the east 15ft. of my property. The easement states that at all times, I will retain ownership of the prope...

    Eric’s Answer

    You should have a lawyer experienced with easements review the easement. If it is an easement in gross it is personal to the grantee and may not be assigned. If the easement is appurtenant to the grantee's property (which you should assume for now) action on your part will be required. You should get advice before the foreclosure sale and certainly before the end of any applicable redemption period.

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  • Joint Tenancy

    In Michigan can a real estate property owner, holding title as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship with 1 other person (they are not spouses), break the joint tenancy without consent of the other joint tenant, simply by transferring their i...

    Eric’s Answer

    Probably not. The life estate portion of the joint survivorship estate is alienable/transferable, but the contingent remainder portion is not.

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  • Prescriptive easements in Michigan, what qualifies?

    I own nearly three hundred acres of property in Northern Michigan, almost surrounded by state land. On the northern portion of my property is a 20 acre lake which lies entirely on my property. I found out last summer that someone had been cutting ...

    Eric’s Answer

    Based on the facts you describe, it is highly doubtful prescriptive rights have been acquired. The key is not whether he knowingly trespassed (i.e. his intent) but rather whether the use of your land was sufficient to put you on notice that he believed he had a right to use your land.

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