EB sent me this article on how Michigan is changing laws so that Realtors cannot open Decedents Estates quick and sell homes on the cheap causing heirs to take huge losses on the sale of homes owned by their deceased loved ones.
But note in the news stories, the Michigan officials admit they received a stream of stories over just how many years?
And how does giving notice and changing a waiting period to sell homes from 42 days to 63 days really help anyone when you know probate is a fixed game and a fixed sale and profits are only accessible to cronies of the wealthy and powerful.
I vote this a red herring, but watch for yourself.
7 Action News Investigation prompts probate law change, protects heirs
A 7 Action News investigation has now changed the law in Michigan. On Tuesday, Governor Rick Snyder signed the legislation that will increase protections in the law for heirs after a loved one dies.
Since November 2016, 7 Investigator Heather Catallo has been exposing several loopholes in the law that allowed real estate brokers and Attorney General-appointed lawyers called Public Administrators to open probate estates after a loved one dies. Catallo’s relentless reporting showed that Macomb County real estate broker Ralph Roberts and his company, Probate Asset Recovery, used that power from the courts to sell the homes and take thousands of dollars from the probate estates.
After the 7 Investigators exposed this, Attorney General Bill Schuette shut the practice down, and Schuette supported the changes to the law.
“Actions that came to light last year made it clear that now is the time to make changes to the public administration system,” said Schuette in a statement Tuesday. “What has happened in the system is unacceptable and these changes to an almost 40-year-old law will help ensure this never happens again. By creating a clear, current and direct path for public administrators to follow in the probate process we can better protect Michigan citizens and weed out any bad actors.”
Oakland County Sheriff’s detectives are also now conducting a criminal investigation into these practices.
In May 2017, Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner and Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown brought together a bi-partisan group of lawmakers to close the loopholes. Two bills sponsored by Rep. Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Jim Runestad (R-Highland Twp.) were signed into law Tuesday.
“We had the constant drum beat of stories that just got worse and worse that you chronicled, and I think that is major factor in why the legislature felt like ‘hey you know what, we need to deal with this one and we need to deal with it quickly,’” Meisner told Catallo.
Meisner is pleased the bills passed, especially since several probate judges and lawyers opposed the changes to the law.
“We reached out to the probate bench and to the bar, and solicited their input about it,” said Meisner. “Despite our reaching out, they didn’t connect with us, they didn’t provide any feedback – and then they submitted a letter before the committee hearing opposing the legislation… It reflects poorly on the probate bar and the judges that they came out against the legislation, and I hope in the future when they’re confronted with this sort of obvious wrong doing that they take the stand of the people.”
Here are more details from Public Act 13 of 2018:
-Heirs will now have 63 days instead of 42 days to open a probate estate, before a Public Administrator can open the estate;
-A formal hearing is now required for a Public Administrator to be appointed;
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