Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, August 27, 2012

Estate Fight Over Steven Rigby's Possessions

Estate DisputeSteven Rigby committed suicide this past spring and now his family is now fighting the government to secure his large estate. At the time of his death, Rigby owned $250,000 worth of real estate property on Lake Lansing. A major problem is that his body was not discovered for 34 days following his death. During the time that his body could have been found, his family missed a crucial deadline to pay his delinquent property taxes to avoid foreclosure on his house. The heirs to his estate, Gordon Small and Dennis Rigby, reportedly told City Pulse that they were not informed of Steven's death.

At issue here is at what time did Rigby pass away. It was normal practice for Rigby to wait until a few days before the deadline to pay his delinquent taxes on his property. Now, if Rigby died after the deadline then the Treasury Office would have had the right to foreclose on the house. If he died before the deadline, then his family would have had the opportunity to pay the delinquent taxes. Before the family could pay the taxes, the Treasurer's Office foreclosed on the property. The Office locked the doors and almost sold the house before the courts intervened. The Ingham County Circuit Judge Canady put the sale on hold and gave the family an opportunity to pay off the back taxes. So, the question here is whether the court can override a statutory deadline for 'equitable' reasons?

See Andy Balaskovitz, Death and Foreclosure, CityPulse, Aug. 8, 2012.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2012/08/estate-fight-over-steven-rigbys-possessions.html

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