What should I do with an insolvent estate in Michigan?

Asked 10 months ago - Sterling Heights, MI

My mother passed away within the past month. The entire estate consists of a home that was purchased free and clear, then Quit Claim Deeded to her in 2006 along with some sort of typed-up agreement to repay the money used to purchase the home upon her death. The agreement is signed, dated, notorized, but contains no legal language.

To complicate matters, the person that was to be repaid upon my mothers death, has since passed away. Additionally, there may be a lien on the home from a lawyer in a different state for unpaid legal fees.

Do I simply walk away from this and let the State of Michigan handle it? Do I try to make contact with the estate of the person who purchased the home? I want to do the right thing (not looking to steal a house from an estate that deserves to be repaid).

Additional information

There is a will and my brother and I are named as executors. The will, however, has not been witnessed, notorized or recorded. Is it valid? Just because I am named as executor, it does not obligate me to seek PR status, does it?

There is nothing in the estate for my brother or I. We do not want to spend out own money just to make sure creditors get paid. Can't the state handle it?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. John F. Brennan

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I would suggest you take all of the information you have to an attorney for review. If the house in in her name you will most probably need to open a probate to transfer it out. You did not mention if there was a will, or if there is equity in the home. Seek a bit of help and close this matter correctly. If the creditor is deceased the proceeds should be to their estate, or perhaps heirs.

    To the PROSPECTIVE client, please call myself or another attorney for your choice with more detaiils and an... more
  2. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your questions cannot be answered with the limited information provided. More facts are needed, including the value of the property and the equity. You may not currently have this information, but you may be able to obtain a lot of it from public information sources.

    The agreement and the deed need to be reviewed by an attorney to determine whether probate is needed. If it is, you would need to factor those costs into your cost-benefit analysis.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ******... more
  3. David B. Carter Jr.


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is way to complicated to advise on a forum. You should schedule a meeting with an attorney where you can tell him/her everything.

  4. Peter L. Conway

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you liked the lawyer you talked to, go back and see the lawyer again, and this time take notes and ask questions until the two of you have developed a plan of action.

    I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia and regularly handle cases of this sort. My answering... more
  5. James T. Weiner

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First, I do not think I completely understand the question.. your mother purchased the home or somebody else did then quit claimed it to her? In consideration of the quit claim she promised repayment in writing? Was the agreement to repay ever recorded against the title to the house? do you know who the heirs of person that was promised repayment are? Have you done a title search to investigate whether the attorney actually recorded his lien against the title to the house?

    If you know the beneficiaries of the person who was nice enough to buy the home for your mom ... make yourself feel good by contacting them. If you know that persons family or any one else try to contact them.. and tell them about the situation.

    If you do not have the information .. try contacting the probate court in the county where that person passed.. there may have been an estate filed with all the relevant information.

    BTW a typed will without witnesses to the signature is not valid as a will in Michigan. However if your brother and you are your mom's only children you have priority if you want to serve. if not you can waive and let the heirs of her creditor serve. HOWEVER your costs of burying your mom may be a priority in the estate .. if you paid you get the monies refunded first.

    Please note that I answered this question with general knowlege of the law and with limited disclosure from you,... more

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