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Trent Harris

Trent Harris

Attorney at Crossroads Legal, PLLC
  • Estate Planning, Probate, Real Estate Law
  • Illinois, Michigan
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ASocial Media

My name is Thomas "Trent" Harris and I go by my middle name, Trent. I was born and raised in Jackson, Michigan and went to the Jackson Public Schools, graduating from Jackson High School in 1995. I earned my bachelor's degree from Albion College in 1999 and my juris doctor degree from Chicago Kent College of Law in 2008. I am licensed to practice in Michigan and Illinois, and my practice focuses on the areas of estate planning, probate, and real estate law.

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
Honors: Cum Laude
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Professional Experience
Crossroads Legal, PLLC
- Current
Founded consumer law firm to represent individuals in the areas of estate planning, probate, and real estate law.
Collections Attorney
American 1 Credit Union
I represented the credit union in collections and consumer bankruptcy matters in courts throughout Michigan.
Law Office of Trent Harris, PLC
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.
Scarpelli & Brady, LLC
Worked as a paralegal for a five-attorney insurance defense litigation firm in Park Ridge, Illinois.
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.
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
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Chicago Bar Association
- Current
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Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • Free Consultation
    Free telephone consultation up to 30 minutes
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Payments by credit or debit card will include a 3% surcharge to cover card processing fees.
Practice Areas
    Estate Planning
    Guardianship & Conservatorship Estate Administration, Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills
    Probate Administration, Probate Litigation, Will Contests
    Real Estate Law
    Commercial Real Estate, Condominiums, Easements, Eminent Domain, Homeowners Association, Land Use & Zoning, Mortgages, Neighbor Disputes, Residential Real Estate, Water Law
  • English: Spoken, Written
Legal Answers
Q. Is a seller liable after closing for misstatements made on disclosure statement.
A: The answer to this question is: maybe. There are two different issues. The first is the encroachment onto the neighbor's property. The second is the basement work done without proper permits. As to the first (encroachment issue), the seller would not be liable to you for that unless the seller had represented to you in the purchase agreement that there were no encroachments onto neighboring property. Most purchase agreements include a provision to enable the buyer to have a stake survey done prior to close. Most buyers waiver this provision, for better or for worse. Failure to have a survey done prior to close that would've discovered the encroachment onto the neighboring property is a risk borne by the buyer. So unless the seller actually told you before closing that there were no problems with encroachments onto neighboring property, you're probably out of luck there. As to the second (permits) issue, if the seller represented to you before close that all required permits were pulled but they were not, you may have a valid claim against the seller for that. The theories that could be pursued for that include fraud, misrepresentation, innocent representation, and possibly breach of warranty of title if you received a warranty deed for the property. In order to pursue this, I recommend you schedule an in-person consult with an experienced real estate attorney in your area.
Q. I know cars & house must be appraised. How do you calculate the other inventory items? See below
A: There are a number of places where you can get inventory values for the things you need. For valuation of real estate, an appraisal is acceptable but may not be required. Local practice may vary, and other sources of valuation for real estate may also be accepted, such as a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) or a multiple of the State Equalized Value (SEV). Call your probate register to find out. For cars, you can use Kelley Blue Book (KBB) or NADA value, taking into consideration the year, make, model, trim package, mileage, and condition. Fine jewelry should be appraised by a jeweler, or pawn shop. For other items like fake jewelry, costume jewelry, kitchenware, clothes, linens, furniture, etc., used resale value is what you are after. What does it cost to purchase used goods of similar age and conditoin? A good guide to value is to research completed sale listings on Ebay to see what similar used items have actually sold for recently. You can also look at listings on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or other classified ads to see the going price. You can also look at what similar used goods bring at garage sales or yard sales. These are all decent barometers of used resale value.
Q. Can my husband's sister contest a wife's rights to everything? Do I still need a will?
A: By "a wife's rights to everything", I'm assuming you mean the surviving spouse's right to a share of an intestate estate. Generally speaking, if the husband dies leaving a probate estate and leaves a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse is entitled to the first $240,000 or so of the probate estate. After that, the estate would be split with other heirs such as the husband's children. Can the husband's sister contest those rights? I guess, people say all things in court but probably it would not be successful. As to whether you need a will, yes, probably. Do you want the defaults of Michigan law to dictate who should be the personal representative of your estate and how your probate estate should be distributed, or would you like to choose differently than the law provides? If so, you need a will. Also, you can do things in a will like designate a guardian for minor children, which if you don't do, could lead to contested litigation in probate court. I recommend that a basic estate plan including a will, power of attorney, and patient advocate designation is a must for just about everybody. Keep in mind these answers are informational in nature only, because we don't really know anything about you and your specific situation based on the limited information in your question. For a full, thorough, and precise answer to your questions, you should make an appointment with a local probate attorney.
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Websites & Blogs
Crossroads Legal, PLLC
Contact & Map
404 S. Jackson St.
Jackson, MI 49201
Telephone: (517) 240-4236
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM (Today)
Thursday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 5 AM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Notice: In-person meetings by appointment only. Please call ahead if you will be stopping by my office.