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City inherits historic property, plans to auction it off

Working hard, saving and investing are good ways to prepare for the future. If those preparations include estate planning, someone will have to be in charge of handling the estate owner's assets after that person passes away. Estate administration can clear up any possible confusion over a deceased person's debts, tax responsibilities and asset distribution.

One Michigan community has been thrust into estate administration after a resident named the town in his will. The 80-year-old man died in February 2012. He left about 24 acres of land with a 160-year-old house, a barn, outbuildings and equipment as well as the personal property inside the buildings. City officials wanted to use the farmhouse as a historic building but determined it would cost too much to renovate the home for public access. They then decided to auction off the real estate.

The property is located in Spring Arbor Township, but readers in Huntington Woods may understand the challenges a city can face in a situation like this. City officials have hired an auction company to handle the proceedings, which will include two open houses for interested bidders. The city expects to collect $170,000 in addition to what is made from the property auction. An auction date has not been set.

Managing an estate can be complex and confusing, so it is important to make sure the estate administrator understands probate issues and any tax liabilities that may come with the distribution of property. Estate planners in Michigan would do well to consult with an attorney with experience in these matters.

Source:, "Spring Arbor makes plans to auction off Elwin F. West property, complete with 24 acres and 160-year-old house," Ken Wyatt, Jan. 15, 2013

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