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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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This question requires a lawyer familiar with Michigan

Customer Question

This question requires a lawyer familiar with Michigan Probate Law and procedure. I was a vendor to an Estate that has been in probate. There was lengthy litigation that has now concluded. During part of the litigation process the judge ordered that funds be frozen. Later he lifted that freeze and agreed that many lawyers should be paid their fees. What he did not order was that my fees be paid for work I did on behalf of the Estate. I filed suit in a local district court to try to recover what is owed, but I'm told I filed my suit in the wrong court and that I need to file a petition with the probate court. I think my district court action stopped the estate from being converted to a trust, but in either event, I want to know what procedures I should follow to petition the probate court, e.g., what forms, etc. and who do I need to notify.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

The district court was correct, you do need to file your motion in the probate matter.

To do this, you simply need to file a "Notice of Motion" "Motion for compensation" "Points and Authorities" and "Declaration (your statement supporting your fee request and attaching a verified copy of your bill or invoice)"

You will first file this with the court, then once you have filed it and gotten a hearing date, you will serve a copy on each of the parties in the action (or their attorney of record).

I would recommend visiting your local law library as they will likely have a set of books called "Practice Guides" (handbooks used by lawyers) which will have templates for you to use for your motion, and will make this much simpler than trying to draft one yourself, or piecing one together using someone else's that you may find online.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. I get the "declaration", but is notice of motion, motion for compensation and points and authorities all put into one filing and document?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
what in the world is points and authorities?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Some people push them altogether into a single document. They are actually different parts to a motion, and for clarity sake I would recommend drafting them separately.

"Points and Authorities" is where you include the legal authority (case law and statutory references) to support the award of your fees. These will vary slightly depending on the specifics of your case - what type of fees are being awarded, what exactly the procedural posture of the estate is, and whether the amounts are being contested at the time you file your motion (they may be contested later in an opposition, but if you know they are contested, you will want to address that directly in your moving paper).

Again, I would recommend going to your local law library and looking for "Practice Guides" (or similar resources) - your law librarian will point you to the best resources available locally - as these will have templates that you can copy and modify to meet your needs (rather than having to draft a brand new motion yourself).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I need to take this up tomorrow, but I have more questions. Perhaps a phone call will help but I'm mentally drained right now.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer, I do not participate in the phone call program for the site, however, if you wish to have a phone call with an attorney, you can post a request for "additional services" and your request will post to other experts that do offer this service. When another attorney accepts your request you will get additional instructions. (If you have questions about these additional services, you can contact our customer service at: http://ww2.justanswer.com/help)

You can always post follow ups later, I will answer them as promptly as possible. (I should be available throughout the day tomorrow).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
William:
I've attached the complaint that I originally filed in our local district court. Can you tell me how my petition to the Probate Court will vary from this? You said I need 'Points and Authorities,' but I'm not sure where to find those in a simple case of someone not paying a bill.
Andrew
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I cannot review your documents on this forum - we are a "general legal information" only forum and cannot provide formal legal advice, instruction or counsel.

The "Points and Authorities" for this kind of motion are going to be very short and concise (if you were a party in a case and making a more complex motion, they can run on for many pages), yours might be as short as one or two pages. All you need to do is cite the legal authority giving the court the authority to issue the compensation, and any associated issues.

I would like to provide you with some pointers here, but based on your fact pattern (you have some other parties that went and jumped ahead of you in line, then you went and filed another case, and now you are filing this motion, you have complicated it a little too much for me to be able to provide you something within the confines of "general legal information" and I don't want to provide you with misinformation or an improper citation (giving you bad law for your case could actually hurt your matter rather than help - this is why we do not practice law on the forum (aside from violating our rules of professional conduct)).

You can generally find this type of information rather quickly in a practice guide - look for a probate practice guide in your local law library, ask the law librarian for assistance, they can point you to the proper text in their collection - it will have citations to authorities for various circumstances and as I noted earlier, will even have templates you can use to help you draft your motion.

I don't believe this will take too much of your time, but you really need to take the time to do it properly (go to the law library) in order to ensure that you don't have your compensation held up any longer.

(Many individuals representing themselves "pro per" (without an attorney) become overly reliant on the internet, hoping there is a quick solution, but if you are representing yourself, please realize that you must plan on conducting yourself like your own attorney - and attorneys spend a great deal of time researching each motion before they write it - which is what I am suggesting to you. Forums such as ours are helpful to assist you in pointing you in the right direction, but we cannot substitute for the time and money that it takes to conduct legal research and writing (the actual practice of law which we charge much more for in our traditional practice)).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The website suggests I call you if I have questions, or invites me to upload documents. I haven't been able to do either. Why is this a problem?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Both of those are "additional services" which are activities outside the scope of which I participate on this forum. As I noted, you are free to post a request for additional services, either here or on a separate question, and another expert that does offer additional services can assist you, but I cannot. (Keep in mind, additional services are provided at additional fees). I do apologize for the inconvenience.

(The forum also allows document upload because there are other categories of experts outside of legal which can make use of uploaded documents).

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