Eugene Arbib owned several businesses on Mackinac Island which had been in the family for three generations. Allegedly, in 1999, Eugene agreed to sell the family businesses to his children. According to the children, Eugene assured them they would receive all family money used to operate the family businesses, the residence on Mackinac Island and the Victorian Lodge if they agreed to purchase the family businesses.

In 2003, Eugene executed a new Will, leaving money, the residence on Mackinac Island and a life estate in the Victorian Lodge, to his wife. After Eugene’s death, the children sued. The children argued that the oral agreement was enforceable because they had fully performed their obligations under the contract. The trial court found that the agreement was unenforceable.

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled on this case and found in favor of Eugene’s wife instead of the children.

This is another example of poor planning causing family strife. What did Eugene really want in this case? We will never know.

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