IN RE CORDELIA N HROMEK PPAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of the Estate of CORDELIA N.
HROMEK, a Protected Person.
EDWARD HROMEK, Conservator,
November 6, 1998
Macomb Probate Court
LC No. 95-145800 CV
Before: Wahls, P.J., and Holbrook, Jr. and Fitzgerald, JJ.
Respondent appeals as of right from a probate court order authorizing the sale of jointly
owned Chrysler stock. We affirm.
A probate court’s ruling on a petitioner’s request for authorization to perform an act pertaining
to an estate is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. In re Rice Estate, 138 Mich App 261, 270; 360
NW2d 587 (1984). Here, respondent challenges the probate court’s order on two grounds. First,
respondent argues that the ward in this case, Mrs. Cordelia Hromek (hereinafter “Mrs. Hromek”),
was eligible for Medicaid, and therefore that the sale of stock was unnecessary. Second, she argues
that petitioner and the probate court were required to preserve Mrs. Hromek’s estate plan, and that
the probate court’s order destroys that plan. We find no merit in these arguments.
First, it is undisputed that the Michigan Family Independence Agency has ruled that Mrs.
Hromek is not eligible for Medicaid. The State is not a party to this action, and thus, the question
whether Mrs. Hromek should be eligible for Medicaid is irrelevant. It is also undisputed that, without
Medicaid, Mrs. Hromek needs the proceeds from the stock sale to pay her expenses. Thus, the trial
court properly concluded that the sale of stock was necessary.
Second, respondent admits that petitioner has the power to withdraw jointly held funds in
order to provide for Mrs. Hromek’s care.1 However, she argues that MCL 700.487; MCA 27.5487
limits that power by requiring preservation of Mrs. Hromek’s estate plan. That statute provides:
In investing in the estate, and in selecting assets of the estate for distribution
under subsections (1) and (2) of section 485, in utilizing powers of revocation or
withdrawal available for the support of the protected person, and exercisable by the
conservator or the court, the conservator and the court should take into account any
known estate plan of the protected person including . . . any contract, transfer, or joint
ownership arrangement with provision for payment or transfer of benefits or interest at
his death to another or others which he may have originated.
Clearly, this statute does not create an absolute duty to preserve the ward’s estate plan when selling
the ward’s assets. Instead, the ward’s estate plan is a factor to be considered. Here, the probate
court took steps to preserve the estate plan by providing that any funds remaining at Mrs. Hromek’s
death become property of the joint owners. Under these circumstances, the requirements of MCL
700.487; MCA 27.5487 were met. Accordingly, the probate court did not abuse its discretion in
authorizing the sale of Chrysler stock for the care and benefit of Mrs. Hromek.
/s/ Myron H. Wahls
/s/ Donald E. Holdbrook, Jr.
/s/ E. Thomas Fitzgerald
We express no opinion on this point. Instead, we rely on respondent’s admission.