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Trent Harris

Trent Harris

Bankruptcy, collections, estate planning, and probate lawyer in Jackson, MI
  • Bankruptcy, Collections, Estate Planning...
  • Illinois, Michigan
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Summary

I'm a bankruptcy, collections, estate planning, and probate lawyer practicing in Jackson, Michigan. Born and raised in Jackson, Michigan, I've been a lawyer since 2008 and have spent most of that time in private practice as a solo practitioner. I also have worked several years working for a bank as in-house counsel handling debt collections and Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy matters.

I help individuals and families plan for and navigate legal issues in some of the most significant financial and legal events in their lives: births, deaths, marriages, divorces, job losses, illnesses, hospitalizations, long-term-care, and other major life events. My approach to clients features personalized attention, prompt communication, efficient service, and discretion at all times. I am admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in the State of Michigan.

Memberships:
Jackson County Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association
Jackson Area Estate Planning Council
Probate and Estate Planning Section, Michigan State Bar
Consumer Law Section, Michigan State Bar

Education:
J.D., Chicago Kent College of Law, 2008
B.A., Albion College, 1999
Diploma, Jackson High School, 1995

Practice Areas
  • Bankruptcy
  • Collections
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
Fees
  • Free Consultation
    I offer free consultations by telephone.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Illinois
Michigan
Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Attorney
Crossroads Legal, PLLC
- Current
Founded consumer law firm to represent individuals in the areas of bankruptcy, collections, estate planning, probate, and employment law.
Collections Attorney
American 1 Credit Union
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I represented the credit union in collections and consumer bankruptcy matters in courts throughout Michigan.
Attorney
Law Office of Trent Harris, PLC
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I represented clients in estate planning, probate, real estate, and small business matters, mostly for transactional/drafting matters, but also some litigation.
Legal Intern
Allegiance Health
-
Worked as a legal intern supporting the Associate General Counsel of a mid-size regional hospital system. Worked mostly on contract and compliance matters.
Paralegal
Scarpelli & Brady, LLC
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Worked as a paralegal for a five-attorney insurance defense litigation firm in Park Ridge, Illinois.
Education
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology
J.D. (2008)
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Albion College
(1999) Dual major in Economics & Management and Philosophy
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Honors: Cum Laude
Awards
CALI Award
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology
Received CALI Award for Law 273 - Evidence from professor Justice David A. Erickson for spring semester of 2007.
Dean's List
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology
Recognized on Dean's List - spring 2007 and fall 2007 semesters.
Dean's List
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology
Recognized on Dean's List - Fall 2006 semester.
Professional Associations
State Bar of Michigan # P73799
Member
Current
Jackson County Bar Association
- Current
Chicago Bar Association
- Current
Speaking Engagements
Bylaws are Mylaws, Nonprofit Network 2011 Governance Workshop, Community Action Agency, Jackson, MI
Nonprofit Network
Presentation discussing the role, relevance, and importance of bylaws to the board of directors and management of nonprofit organizations.
Websites & Blogs
Website
Crossroads Legal, PLLC
Legal Answers
139 Questions Answered

Q. My ex husband passed away during a search at the Wayne County clerks office they found that we are not divorced.
A: First, it depends on how the property was titled, i.e. whether you are on the title too and if so, how you hold title with your deceased ex, i.e. as tenants by the entireties, joint tenants, or tenants in common. Second, it depends on how far you got in your divorce. Did you try to divorce, and sign a judgment or other document, for consideration, that established rights to marital property between yourself and your deceased ex? Did you think you were actually divorced, but due to some legal technicality, the divorce wasn't finalized? This case sounds like it may be complicated. You would be best off to call a qualified family law attorney in your area, who also does work in the probate court.
Q. For Michigan - My Uncle passed away 5/13/2017 without a Will. He had a mobile home and a car. Only worth Ten Thousand.
A: In short, yes. The persons entitled to an estate can all agree in writing to change the distribution of the estate, so it passes other than as would be dictated by a will or the laws of intestate succession. They can also renounce their right to be appointed personal representative, and nominate another person instead. The Secretary of State would likely require to see evidence that an estate has been opened and a personal representative has been appointed if the car or trailer is going to be transferred to someone other than the adult children. Though the value of the property and estate is admittedly modest, you may want to get an attorney's help to walk you through this process. As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on any information you get from internet discussion boards, such as this one.
Q. A widow can't find her husband's stock certificate. To replace it the stock company requires certification from probate.
A: #1: It shouldn't be necessary to open a full-fledged probate estate. First, widow could try using SCAO form pc598, Affidavit of Decedent's Successor for Delivery of Certain Assets Owned by Decedent (see MCL 700.3983). That might work if stock company will accept it. Or, if stock company will not accept that, and insists on something signed by the Probate Court, then the next option would be to use SCAO form pc556, Petition and Order for Assignment (see MCL 700.3982). #2: The property that needs to be considered for the above purposes is the property that belonged to the deceased, outside of the trust. Property that was conveyed into the trust before death is not part of the decedent's probate estate, and is not a probate asset. #3: The above two techniques may be able to get the job done without opening a can of worms. ***But note, widow (or whoever is trustee of the trust) has duties to publish notice to creditors and pay certain claims of deceased husband's estate, notwithstanding the avoidance of probate under MCL 700.7605-15. A trust avoids the need for estate administration in probate court, but doesn't avoid the need for some estate administration after a death. As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on any information you get from internet discussion boards, such as this one.
Q. We have completed our will and have divided our assets to our children equally. How do we complete a lady bird will ?
A: A lady bird will is a lady bird won't, and don't. What it sounds like you are talking about is a lady bird deed, otherwise known in Michigan as an enhanced life estate deed. A lady bird deed conveys a life estate, which is the right to possess and use property during one's lifetime, along with a power of appointment power to transfer the property during the person's lifetime. If the person does not exercise the power of appointment before death, then by the terms of the deed the property transfers to a named remainderperson. Real estate conveyancing documents are more complicated than they look, and mistakes are easy to make that could create title issues. You might be best off to contact an attorney to help you. As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on information you get from internet discussion boards, such as this one.
Q. Parents giving me Power of Attorney. Do I need an agreement for each or one agreement with both names?
A: I suppose it's legally possible, at least in theory, for one power of attorney agreement to be used for two people. But the custom is to have one agreement for each person. If you had a POA agreement with two people on it, you might run into trouble getting it honored by banks, financial institutions, title agencies, etc. because that's not something they are used to seeing. It's better to err on the safe and conventional side, and give them something familiar. As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on any information you get from internet discussion boards, such as this one.
Q. My mother passed intestate. She left an old mobile home that was never transferred in her name. Am I responsible for it?
A: So you’re saying you don’t think there is a certificate of title saying your mother owned the trailer. Or, she leased it and didn’t own it. If that is truly the case, then the trailer didn’t legally belong to your mother. It would not be property of her estate, but the estate could be liable for the costs of removal or demolition if she owned it, with or without a written lease. You (an heir of your mother’s estate) aren’t personally responsible for those costs, but the estate is. If your mother only leased the trailer, the renovation/removal/demolition would be the landlord’s responsibility since the landlord owns the leased trailer. Surviving children of a deceased are entitled to exempt property allowance under MCL 700.2404 worth up to $15,000, free and clear of creditor claims. You can take the belongings, and divide them among other surviving children of your mother (if any). Exempt property allowance is calculated along with property your mother had elsewhere, ie a motor vehicle or in her primary residence too. As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on information you get from internet discussion boards such as this one.
Q. Can me and my husband buy his mother's house on a land contract when husband and brother is in her will
A: Yes. Even if mom’s will says the house is supposed to go to husband and brother, assuming she’s mentally competent she can still sell it to you and husband. If she does, then the house would no longer be part of her estate; instead her right to receive land contract payments as land contract vendor would. If mom sells, she should update her will to clarify who should get the proceeds from the land contract, if it hasn’t been fully performed before the time she dies. As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on information you get from internet discussion boards such as this one.
Q. How long will 4 heirs wait if selling estate to 5th heir on "land contract"?
A: A land contract is usually paid a little at a time. First, there’s a down payment. Second, there are monthly payments for most of the balance over time. Third, there’s usually a bigger lump sum payment due several (3-10) years later. When a land contract is made, the buyer has a vendee’s interest: possession of the property now, and the right to receive a deed at the end, if all payments are made. The seller has a vendor’s interest: legal title now, and the right to receive payments from the vendee, along with the duty to deliver a deed if the contract is fully performed. How long will you wait for your inheritance? If you mean all your money, it would be as long as the term of the land contract - the time when the balloon payment is due. If you mean your vendor’s interest, it would depend on whether the land contract is made between the buyer and the estate as seller, or whether it’s between the buyer and the other 4 heirs as sellers. You could close the probate and get your inheritance (vendor’s interest) faster if you conveyed the property from the estate to the heirs who will hold title, then did the land contract between the buyer and the other 4 heirs. As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on information you get from internet discussion boards such as this one.
Q. Was advised to direct all questions to attorney rather than Trustee and now she won't respond. What are my rights?
A: No, the attorney doesn't necessarily have a duty to call you back. Under the trust code, a trustee has a duty to send certain information to qualified trust beneficiaries. That sounds like what you received with the accounting. If you are a qualified beneficiary of the trust, you also have a right to request reasonable information about the trust. If your request is reasonable, the trustee has a duty to give you the information. But if the trustee or his attorney believes your request is not reasonable, then they don't necessarily have a duty to give you the information you want. If you dispute the accounting and there has been no response from the trustee or the trustee's attorney, then you could hire your own attorney to communicate with your brother's attorney and see if they can work it out. Or, you could file a petition for supervision of the trustee in the probate court. The probate court has jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes like this that come up during trust administration. As always, you get what you pay for. Be sure to talk to a qualified attorney about your specific situation before choosing to rely on any information you get from internet discussion boards, such as this one.
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Mailing Address
P.O. Box 1054
Jackson, MI 49204-1054
USA
Telephone: (517) 240-4236
Office
404 S. Jackson St.
Jackson, MI 49201
USA
Telephone: (517) 240-4236