Making new law is not easy. It is a long journey with many twists and turns. We all fondly remember our friend Bill describing the process in the famous Schoolhouse Rock Video:
I’m just a bill
Yes, I’m only a bill
And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill
Well, it’s a long, long journey
To the capital city
It’s a long, long wait
While I’m sitting in committee
But I know I’ll be a law someday
At least I hope and pray that I will
But today I am still just a bill
Recently, The Probate Pro has been making new law. Not the type of law that journeys to Capitol Hill but common law through the Courts. Two recent cases that The Probate Pro served as the fiduciary have further clarified the rights of a guardian and conservator in Michigan No Fault Law.
Making New Law – The Pirgu case
On December 16, 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiff in Pirgu v. United States Automobile Association. The Michigan courts had consistently ruled that expenses associated with both guardianship and conservatorship can be allowable expenses under the Michigan No Fault Act. However, the Court specifically addressed the issue of whether an attorney who represents a guardian can recover fees incurred in that representation as an allowable expense under Michigan’s No Fault Law. In the Pirgu case, The Probate Pro served as the attorney for the guardian and conservator.
The Court ruled that “The plain language of MCL 500.3107(1)(a) compels the conclusion that the trial court erred when it determined, as a matter of law, that plaintiff could not be compensated for Findling’s services rendered to plaintiff in her role as guardian and conservator.”
This favorable ruling confirmed what The Probate Pro had been advocating for years and the insurance industry has been contesting. The insurance industry had been improperly interpreting the In re Carroll case contending that all conservator duties were to be treated as replacement services and not allowable expenses under the No Fault Act.. However, their interpretation was faulty. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled In re Carroll that:
“Carroll stands for the proposition that a conservator is required to perform duties that extend beyond a task which an ordinary person is required to perform in their daily life or for the benefit of their household and those services are “allowable expenses” and “compensable under MCL §500.3107(1)(a).”
Conservatorship expenses can be compensable under Michigan’s No Fault Act based on an examination of the extent that the conservator managed estate needs transcend what the injured person required before the motor vehicle accident.
Making New Law – The Kowalski case
Just a few months earlier, The Probate Pro was again successful in making new law. In March 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiff in Darren Findling as Conservator of Kowalski v. Auto Club Insurance Association. The Court of Appeals confirmed that conservator fees related to maintaining the estate related to the care of the injured’s peculiar needs as an injured person are allowable expenses.
Making New Law – The Probate Pro’s commitment
The Probate Pro is proud to represent guardians and conservators in contested, litigious cases. We take great pride in being the leading probate and trust law firm providing administration, litigation, and estate planning services.