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Real Estate FAQs « FAQs

We are teachers and advocates, and as a part of that process we frequently answer questions from our clients — so we started collecting our Frequently Asked Questions. We are collecting and sharing them with you by topic and hope these are helpful to you.

Please feel free to email Patti at pdudek@pekdadvocacy.com if you have a follow up question or comment. We'd also like you to let us know what you think of this new feature of our website.

KEEP IN MIND THESE ARE GENERAL QUESTIONS AND CANNOT BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE OR THE BEGINNING OF THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

We have redacted names to protect the innocent! Sometimes they are posed in a give and take format because they were developed through an email exchange.

(Note: questions are not edited for spelling, grammar or content.)

Real Estate Matters:

Question: The Trust Council of the Michigan Bankers Association is attempting to get the legislature to deal with the problem of real estate held in trust being denied the Principal Residence Exemption. Our experience here in Kalamazoo is that the Treasury and local units of government are denying the exemption where the Trust owns the real estate and the beneficiary is residing in it. This is contrary to the Treasury's own Guidelines.

Legislative staff have to ask the following 2 questions:

1.  Do you know how many instances of this (denying the PRE) occurs or how often it happens?

2.  How widespread is this issue – is it occurring in 1-2 certain locations or all over the state?

Please indicate if Treasury and/or local government are denying the PRE to trusts in your area and how many times you know of that it has occurred.

Answer: There is not enough information to get to the heart of the problem. The statutes are pretty clear that a principal residence owned by a trust may qualify for the homestead exemption in two instances where the term "owner" has been extended to include (1) the grantor who has place the property in a revocable trust, or (2) the sole present beneficiary of the trust is permanently disabled (as defined in the Social Security Act). Other trust situations will not qualify for the exemption. If the trusts are one of these, there may be a problem. If not, the assessor may be properly denying the exemption requests.

Answer by Trey Brice of Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, PC