The attorneys for Chalgian & Tripp Law Offices are among the most experienced probate lawyers in the arena of Michigan’s appellate courts. Appellate courts serve a critical role in two important ways: First, they correct mistakes that occur at trial. Second, they create and clarify the law.
Among the important appellate cases that Chalgian & Tripp have handled in recent years are the following:
In re Mortimore Estate
Attorney Doug Chalgian was hired by the children of Arnold Mortimore in a case that involved a will purportedly created by Arnold Mortimore, who essentially left his estate to his second spouse (a woman he became involved with shortly after his first wife died). Before Attorney Chalgian was retained, a trial was held in which the children contested the will based on the theories of lack of capacity and undue influence. The Judge ruled in favor of the second spouse and upheld the will.
Attorney Chalgian was hired to appeal the trial court’s decision, which he did based on the argument that the trial court failed to consider the presumption of undue influence that Michigan law imposes where a person in a confidential relationship with the testator (person who created the will) benefits from the new will. The Court of Appeals agreed with Attorney Chalgian, reversed the trial court, and ordered that the will be set aside.
In re Griffin Trust – Court of Appeals Ruling
In re Griffin Trust – Supreme Court Ruling adopting Court of Appeals dissenting opinion
In the Griffin Trust, Attorney John Bos handled a case involving the enforcement of a terror clause (a clause that cuts out a beneficiary who challenges the trust document). The trial court ruled against Attorney Bos’s client and disregarded the terror clause, allowing a beneficiary who contested the trust to inherit. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision. However, the case was accepted by the Michigan Supreme Court, which overruled the trial court and the Court of Appeals, and in doing so established new law regarding the enforcement of terror clauses in Michigan.
In re Fox Trust
Two siblings were named as co-trustees of their parent’s trust. They could not get along, and one of them hired Attorney Chalgian; the other hired her own lawyer.
Soon after, the Court removed the second sibling and authorized Attorney Chalgian’s client to act alone to settle the trust estate, which was done. When the estate was settled, a final accounting and request to approve final distributions was brought back to the Court and approved. The second sibling objected to many of the decisions made by Attorney Chalgian’s client, and to the final accounting. In addition, the second sibling sought to be paid for her services as co-trustee before being removed.
The unhappy sibling appealed the trial court to the Court of Appeals, which upheld the trial court’s decision and ruled in favor of Attorney Chalgian’s client.
In re Temple Trust
Attorney Doug Chalgian represented one of three children of Florence and Clarence Temple. At trial, Attorney Chalgian’s client claimed the amendment of the trust created by Clarence Temple after the death of his wife was invalid. The trial court disagreed with Attorney Chalgian’s position and ruled that the amendment was valid. Attorney Chalgian appealed the case and the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, and held that the amendment was invalid.
In re Eggleston
Attorney Doug Chalgian was hired as an expert witness in the trial court, and his opinion was cited by the Court of Appeals in its opinion affirming the trial court’s decision.