Retired couple needed help after deeds disappeared while being officially recorded for their estate

Property was being put into a family trust

SUMPTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) - A retired Sumpter Township couple wanted to put some property into a family trust for their heirs, but getting the official deeds became a challenge.

We met up with Sharon and Eyvind Claxton while they were tending to their vegetable garden. Gardening is a joy for them -- unlike estate planning.

The latter is a chore they'd put off for about four years.

"We have 3 children, 2 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren and another one on the way," said Sharon Claxton proudly.

The pair wanted to protect their property for their heirs. So they created the Claxton Family Trust. They decided to put two pieces of property into the trust – Sharon's rental home and 30 acres of land.

The bulk of that land -- 29-acres -- is designated as a nature preserve.

"These deeds were made out in December 2012," said Sharon pointing at the paperwork spread across her kitchen table.  

The Claxtons needed a deed recorded for each property.

Sharon mailed the deeds to the Wayne County Register of Deeds on January 10th with a $30.00 certified check from Flagstar Bank.

Documents submitted for recording are supposed to be returned 2-to-7 days from the date received. So by March she started to worry.

"I called the deed retrieval service, [and they] said they had no record of them. So I checked with the UAW legal service because that's whose name is on the paperwork. I figured maybe they got them back. Nope, they had not got them back," she recalled.

The check had not cleared either.

When the deeds had not shown up by May, she became really concerned. So she e-mailed WXYZ's "Call For Action" team.

"You mention Channel 7 Action News, you know, and it seems like people just start jumping," she smiled.

Our team helped her reach a supervisor in the Register of Deeds. She learned her deeds had been sent to Flagstar's corporate office in Troy. She said a Flagstar representative told her there was no record of the deeds.

But on May 21st the Claxton Family Trust received a letter from their local Flasgstar branch in Canton complete with the two original deeds. Both were date-stamped January 11, 2013.

"I want to thank Channel 7 Call For Action because they really come through every time," said Claxton.

If you have a consumer problem you need help with, contact our Call For Action team. The number is (248) 827-3362. The phone lines are open three days a week – Mondays, Tuesday, and Wednesdays – from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

You can also email our team by filling out a consumer complaint form here.

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