e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 75983
Opinion Date : 08/05/2021
e-Journal Date : 08/18/2021
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : In re Tylo Revocable Trust
Practice Area(s) : Attorneys, Wills & Trusts
Judge(s) : Per Curiam - Tukel, Sawyer, and Cameron
Full Text Opinion

Dispute over the distribution of trust assets; Abandonment of issues by failing to provide any legal argument; Cheesman v Williams; Attorney fees; Principle that a trustee may retain legal counsel to fulfill his or her duties as a trustee; MCL 700.7817(w)


Holding that appellant-successor trustee abandoned both of his arguments because he failed to identify sufficient legal authority to support them, the court affirmed the trial court’s order distributing the assets of the parties’ (siblings) mother’s revocable trust. Appellant was appointed as the successor trustee of the trust upon his mother’s death. The issue of how to distribute the trust’s assets, and specifically what to do with their mother’s house, eventually led to litigation. The hostility between the siblings caused the trial court to order appellant to sell the house to three of the siblings, and appoint a special fiduciary to oversee that process. The three siblings eventually purchased the house. One of the three later filed an affidavit averring that appellant was paying unnecessary attorney fees out of the trust’s assets. The trial court eventually agreed and ordered the attorney to repay funds to the trust, concluding he was not entitled to attorney fees related to the house’s sale, and that he “failed to support his request for attorney fees with adequate documentation.” On appeal, the court rejected appellant’s argument that the trial court erred by not accepting a settlement agreement regarding distribution of the trust assets and by denying his request for attorney fees. First, because appellant’s “citations to the Michigan trust code, without more, simply leave it to this Court to rationalize the basis for his claim that the trial court erred by not enforcing the settlement agreement he claims the parties reached,” this argument was abandoned. Second, he also abandoned his argument as to attorney fees because he failed to adequately address the issue. Appellant “merely announced his claim with almost no citation to authority and left it to this Court to identify and rationalize a basis for his claim.”

Full Text Opinion