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Trent Harris

Trent Harris

Bankruptcy, collections, estate planning, and probate lawyer in Jackson, MI
  • Bankruptcy, Collections, Estate Planning...
  • Illinois, Michigan
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ASocial Media

I'm a bankruptcy, collections, estate planning, and probate lawyer practicing in Jackson, Michigan. Born and raised in Jackson, Michigan, I've been a lawyer since 2008 and have spent most of that time in private practice as a solo practitioner. I also have worked several years working for a bank as in-house counsel handling debt collections and Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy matters.

I help individuals and families plan for and navigate legal issues in some of the most significant financial and legal events in their lives: births, deaths, marriages, divorces, job losses, illnesses, hospitalizations, long-term-care, and other major life events. My approach to clients features personalized attention, prompt communication, efficient service, and discretion at all times. I am admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in the State of Michigan.

Jackson County Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association
Jackson Area Estate Planning Council
Probate and Estate Planning Section, Michigan State Bar
Consumer Law Section, Michigan State Bar

J.D., Chicago Kent College of Law, 2008
B.A., Albion College, 1999
Diploma, Jackson High School, 1995

Practice Areas
  • Bankruptcy
  • Collections
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Free Consultation
    I offer free consultations by telephone.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Crossroads Legal, PLLC
- Current
Founded consumer law firm to represent individuals in the areas of bankruptcy, collections, estate planning, probate, and employment 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.
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology
J.D. (2008)
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology Logo
Albion College
(1999) Dual major in Economics & Management and Philosophy
Honors: Cum Laude
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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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Jackson County Bar Association
- Current
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Chicago Bar Association
- Current
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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.
Websites & Blogs
Crossroads Legal, PLLC
Legal Answers
185 Questions Answered

Q. my husband was discharged from hospital and made a financial agreement to pay 200 a month which I have been paying, now
A: Your husband should contact the hospital's billing/collections department to get more information. It is unlikely that they will deal with anyone other than him, due to HIPAA and other privacy laws. He can ask them to provide records to support their version of the amount due. If it is revealed that they have made a mistake, he could bring it to their attention and ask them to fix it. If the account has been paid according to the terms that were agreed, he could request them to withdraw the account from collections. If there are more debts than he knew about and he can't pay them, he might wish to consider bankruptcy. For further assistance, consult with a collections defense or bankruptcy attorney in your area.
Q. Probate and Life Insurance
A: The money belongs to your father in law's estate. How the money goes from there depends on whether he had a will or other estate planning done, or if he died intestate. For further information, consult with a probate attorney in your area.
Q. My mother passed away in 2016 and my mother and brother are on the deed to her home as tenants in common.
A: Possibly. When real estate is involved, it will either need to be probated or dealt with using a petition and order for assignment. The procedure used by your lawyer may not have been the correct one to use. But to be sure, you should get a consult with a probate attorney in your area who can review all the facts and circumstances in your case before rendering an opinion.
Q. My husbands parents passed away, no will and no one named as executor.
A: The 2 brothers who do agree should sign renunciations of their right to seek appointment of personal representative, and in the renunciations they have the right to nominate you instead. You would file an application or petition to be appointed personal representative, with notice to all interested persons including the sister. There are other documents that would also need to be filed with the petition, such as a notice of intent to be appointed personal representative, and a testimony regarding heirs. The sister would then have 14 days to object to your appointment as personal representative by filing her own petition to be appointed personal representative instead. For more information, a probate attorney in your area can help you. Call one - many will offer a free consult.
Q. Can a debt collector come after a beneficiary of a life insurance policy?
A: No. A creditor of the LLC or of your father has no standing to go after proceeds of a life insurance policy. The creditor's remedy, if the creditor has one, is to file a claim against the LLC. If your father personally guaranteed the debt or was found personally liable to the creditor in an estate, the creditor may also pursue your father's estate or trust by filing a claim. For further information, get a consult with a probate attorney in your area.
Q. Will I have a legal right to my mother's assets if she dies before my stepdad?
A: Your right to inherit from your mother and stepdad depends on a number of factors, like whether either one has a will, how much their assets are worth, and who dies first. Without a will, you have a right to inherit from your mother's probate estate if she dies, but only if her probate property is worth more than a certain amount. The first $100,000 or more goes to the surviving spouse. If her probate property is less than $100,000 it goes all to the surviving spouse (stepdad). Without a will, you as a stepchild have no right to inherit from your stepdad's probate estate if he dies. Life insurance with a beneficiary designation and assets owned jointly by spouses don't pass in probate, and aren't part of a probate estate. Remarried families present complicated situations like these for estate planners. In sum, if your mom and stepdad want to ensure that you inherit something from them, they need to see an estate planning lawyer and have a thorough estate plan drawn up. At minimum, they're going to need wills, and possibly trusts, and also to coordinate beneficiary designations. If you need further information, get a consult with an estate planning attorney.
Q. I am trustee of my recently deceased father's living trust. I am trying to gain access to his bank account.
A: You do not need letters of authority. That is for a probate estate. If the bank account was already owned by the trust, then what you likely need is a signed acceptance of successor trustee, showing that you have taken over as trustee and accept your obligations as trustee of the trust. The exact form and how of this should be spelled out in the trust itself. On the other hand, just because a bank account was listed in the trust doesn't mean the account was actually owned by the trust. The fact the bank is asking you to get letters of authority suggests that maybe this bank account was never properly titled in the name of the trust in the first place, and remained in your deceased father's name at death. In that case, you may need letters of authority after all because it was a probate asset, not a trust asset. If the amount of money in the account is more than $23,000, you'll need to open probate. If the amount of money is less than that, other procedures can be used in lieu of opening a full-fledged probate. If you need further assistance, you should consult with an estate planning and probate attorney for the help you need.
Q. If everything is out of a Irrevocable trust, does it have to be closed out or does it stay open forever.
A: If I understand your question, you're asking what happens to an irrevocable trust if it no longer has any assets? The trust normally could be closed, unless the trust might obtain property or money in the future (for example, if the trust is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, or of another trust, or of someone's will). If there may still be assets in the future that would be administered by the trust, then it may not be a good idea to close it. On the other hand, most trust agreements have language that says if the balance of assets in the trust is below a certain dollar amount, the trust can be terminated because it is uneconomical (i.e. wasteful, not worth it) to continue to administer the trust. The language of the trust should be reviewed, along with all of the other relevant circumstances. Your best course of action would be to get a consult with an estate planning attorney so you can learn your options, and so the trust can be dealt with the right way.
Q. i am 16 with a kid, i have a job and can take care of me and my kid, does anyone know anyone who will consider renting?
A: You could be having a problem finding a place that will rent to you because you are not legally an adult. Contracts with minors can be disaffirmed by the minor, and are thus voidable. Not many people will want to lend money or do transactions for significant money if there is a risk that you could walk away from the deal and leave them with no legal recourse. However, if you become an emancipated minor, you can legally become an adult, even if you aren't 18 yet. Emancipated minors can enter contracts and sue and be sued the same as adults. For more information, go to the circuit court in your area and ask for an information packet on becoming an emancipated minor. You could also talk to a family law attorney.
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Contact & Map
404 S. Jackson St.
Jackson, MI 49201
Telephone: (517) 240-4236