e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 76189
Opinion Date : 09/16/2021
e-Journal Date : 09/20/2021
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : In re Estate of Huntington
Practice Area(s) : Litigation, Probate
Judge(s) : Tukel, Sawyer, and Cameron
Full Text Opinion

Administration of an estate; Probate court jurisdiction; MCL 700.1302(a); Venue; MCL 700.1302(b); Jurisdiction over a nonresident’s property located in Michigan; MCL 700.1301(b); In re Leete Estate; Distribution to a domiciliary personal representative (PR); MCL 700.3919(1); A surviving spouse’s election; MCL 700.2202(6); Distribution of an intestate decedent’s widow’s intestate share; MCL 700.2203; MCL 700.3101; “Heir”; MCL 700.1104(p); Withdrawal or amendment of deemed admissions; MCR 2.312(B) & (C); Estates & Protected Individuals Code (EPIC)


The court held that the probate court had subject-matter jurisdiction over the portion of the decedent’s estate in Michigan, but reversed its ruling that it did not have authority to distribute it. It also held that the probate court properly ruled that appellant-PR (the decedent’s widow, McDaniel-Huntington) admitted the contents of appellee-successor PR’s (the decedent’s son, Huntington) request for admissions because she failed to address it at the probate court level and thus, waived the issue. The probate court denied McDaniel-Huntington’s petition to require Huntington to provide statutory authority allowing him to pursue assets outside its jurisdiction, and deemed admitted the contents of his request for admissions. On appeal, the court rejected her argument that the probate court wrongly held that it had no subject-matter jurisdiction in this case. “The probate court never concluded that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction in this case. Rather, it concluded that it did not have the authority to administer the portion of” the estate located in Michigan, and it erred by doing so. The court found that the probate court “should have determined who the heirs are under EPIC’s rules of intestate succession as regards all Michigan property, and the share of each such heir as provided for by EPIC.” To the extent it failed to do so, it erred. “On the other hand, there was no abuse of discretion in denying the specific request that [Huntington] ‘provide statutory authority that allows him to pursue assets outside the jurisdiction of this Court.’ That is so because, assuming that McDaniel-Huntington is a surviving spouse for purposes of MCL 700.2102, her share is to be calculated, at least under some circumstances, based on ‘[t]he entire intestate estate.’ . . . The ‘entire intestate estate’ necessarily includes the California property.” Finally, the court declined to exercise its discretion to review McDaniel-Huntington’s argument that she “should be permitted to amend or withdraw her deemed admissions” and it deemed the issue waived. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Full Text Opinion