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Municipality sues estate of deceased couple for unmaintained home

A township has sued the estate of a deceased couple because their former home -- which the estate still owns -- has been overrun by weeds and become unsightly. Officials from the Michigan town where the home is situated claim that they did not have any other choice but to sue the estate because the home's condition represents a violation of the local nuisance ordinance.

The estate has been ordered to clean the property and it has 30 days in order to comply. Otherwise, the township will clean the property and charge the estate for the cost.

Because the owners of the home are now deceased and unable to foot the bill for the cleanup, the municipality will likely put a lien on the property following the removal of the plants.

The home never went through the probate process. The township did not realize the home was lying vacant and uncared for because someone had paid the property taxes. The attorney does not know who paid the property taxes. The attorney who represents the township in the case would not publicly comment on the issue.

Ever since June 11, 2014, the home has been condemned and it is not permitted for anyone to live inside it. According to the Township Assessor, the deceased couple had one daughter who could legally make a claim on the property; however, she has not done so. Therefore, the deed remains in the names of the deceased couple and the only option the township has is to sue the estate.

This case is an excellent example of why it is important to create a plan for ones assets before it is too late. When a New York couple has a properly made estate plan, then there will be a clear roadmap for the distribution of their assets, and it is not likely that a problem like this one will occur.

Source: mlive.com, "Township sues dead couple's estate after house is overrun with weeds, becomes an eyesore," Nathan Clark, Dec. 02, 2015

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