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What is Undue Influence?

What is Undue Influence? Elderly individuals often struggle with the proper management of their finances and assets as they age and lose mental acuity. Because of this, they rely on others they trust for advice and assistance in management of their finances. These people are commonly family members and friends who they know well. Unfortunately, there are those who seek to exploit this trust and manipulate older vulnerable persons into making their wills unusually favorable to them, giving them a good portion of their wealth and/or assets. This is referred to as undue influence, which [...]

October 16th, 2020|Elder Law|

Probate Real Estate

Probate For Real Estate Property in Michigan When someone is interested in purchasing or selling real estate, there is sometimes a question regarding who rightfully holds the title or deed to the property. This comes about usually due to a person passing away without a proper will or failing to deed a property to their heirs before passing. Without a proper will or deed from the decedent, a home cannot be legally sold, refinanced or owned by any person other than the decedent's estate. In Michigan, when this situation happens the property will be forced [...]

September 18th, 2020|Probate|

Livingston County Probate Court

The Livingston County Probate Court handles cases relating to the administration of trusts and/or estates after someone passes away. This process of administering assets can be carried out regardless of whether or not the decedent had a will. Also, the court handles cases relating to the appointment of guardianships and conservatorships for minors and individuals with mental and developmental disabilities. In addition to this, the court handles cases regarding the involuntary commitment of persons with mental illness. Since the issues covered by the court are often complex, it's important to consult with a lawyer who’s experienced [...]

August 25th, 2020|Probate|

Estate Planning Checklist

Planning for the management, transfer and division of your estate upon your eventual death or disability is not something many people consider until it's too late. Estate planning is an essential thing everyone should do, regardless of the current value of your assets or where you’re at in life. This is why establishing and following an estate planning checklist is extremely vital for your future. The goals of estate planning are to avoid any hassles or confusion, reduce costs and to minimize time spent in probate court - or avoid it altogether. It is wise to [...]

Guardianship and Conservatorship in Michigan

Guardianship and Conservatorship in Michigan Unfortunately there are times when an individual is unable to care for themselves or their affairs, and require assistance by an outside party. When this type of assistance is required, a guardian and/or conservator is appointed to handle the individual’s affairs. In Michigan, this is done through the probate court system, which strictly oversees the process to ensure an individual's best interests are met. Because guardianships and conservatorships effectively take away an individual’s rights and freedoms, Michigan probate courts take this very seriously and require an annual review of guardians [...]

Estate Planning Documents

Many people consider an estate plan as a necessary legal document for retirees. Although this is true, an estate plan is vital at all stages of adulthood. In fact, an estate plan is vital in case of an emergency. For example, if a person becomes unable to handle their financial affairs, who can legally take care of their obligations? Also, if parents of young children are in a terrible accident, who will care for their children? These concerns and other emergencies are legally addressed in a well written estate plan. This article provides information on [...]

Special Needs Trust

Everything You Need To Know About a Special Needs Trust When someone has a child with special needs or is caring for an adult with a physical or mental disability, the thought of leaving this person alone without proper care is frightening. If the person providing care were to suddenly pass away or become incapacitated, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to how the adult or child would receive care. Luckily, with proper estate planning, necessary documents can be established to alleviate these concerns. This article provides background on a special needs trust (SNT) and how [...]

Washtenaw County Probate Court

The Washtenaw County Probate Court is part of the Family Division of the Washtenaw County Trial Court system. This court primarily handles cases regarding the administration of estates after an individual passes away. This can be handled regardless of whether or not the deceased had a will. In addition to this the court also handles cases for conservatorships on behalf of both minors and adults, which is useful when the person is not capable of making decisions on their own or is simply too young to do so. In these cases the court may appoint a [...]

May 11th, 2020|Probate|

Trust Protector

In 2010, the Michigan Trust Code defined the term “Trust Protector” as someone appointed to watch over a trust that will be in effect for a long time. The appointed person must ensure the trust is protected from any legal changes. This also protects beneficiaries and mediates disputes over estate matters. A trust protector only has specific powers granted by the trust document. The settlor and the attorney writing the trust document establish these powers which may include the following: Amending the trust if laws change Changing future distributions based on beneficiaries’ life circumstances Removing a [...]

April 21st, 2020|Estate Planning|

Estate Planning During The Health Crisis

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a significant impact on people throughout the world. This health crisis has changed people’s day-to-day life and many are uncertain as to what the future holds. If you’re reading this, we wish you and your family health and safety throughout the remainder of this crisis and beyond. On a personal note, our law firm has been adapting to these new changes through the use of modern technology. We’ve been working remotely to accommodate client needs. Also, more than ever, we’re getting calls from a significant number of young people and those [...]

Who Can Override a Power of Attorney

Who Can Override A Power of Attorney? A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document between two or more people. One person (the “principal”) grants another person or persons (the “attorney in fact” or “agent”) the authority to act on the principal’s behalf. This article focuses on legal aspects surrounding A power of attorney including who can override a power of attorney in the event of a disagreement. Reasons to Override A Power of Attorney A principal who is of sound mind may decide to change their agent designation at any time. For [...]

Michigan Probate Court Forms

Michigan Probate Court Forms Probate is used to determine who will receive property and inheritance of a deceased individual. This court-supervised process varies for each state. In Michigan, probate is required for most estates with only a few exceptions. When going through this process, there are several important Michigan probate court forms. When someone dies in Michigan, probate is supervised in the local circuit court in the county where the individual lives during the time of death. This page gives information along with PDF examples of Michigan probate forms. Many of these examples are taken from [...]

March 13th, 2020|Probate|

Life Estate

What Is a Life Estate? A Life Estate involves property ownership. In Michigan, an Enhanced Life Estate Deed, or Lady Bird Deed is also a popular option. Michigan also has a Quit Claim Deed for passing on property and defining property interests. Each of these documents helps heirs avoid Probate Court. Of course, each situation is unique and contacting an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning is highly recommended. Sound legal advice helps you decide which one of these documents works best for your family. What is the Purpose of a Life Estate? [...]

Lady Bird Deed

Lady Bird Deed Michigan A Michigan ladybird deed is a type of Quit Claim Deed commonly used in Michigan. This estate planning instrument allows a property owner to maintain control over their property while alive and transfer it to heirs upon their death. A ladybird deed falls under the Michigan Land Title Standards (6th) 9.3 which governs this method of property transfer. An experienced estate planning attorney can advise you if this type of deed is appropriate for your needs. Advantages of Lady Bird Deeds Numerous reasons exist to include a ladybird deed as part of [...]

February 19th, 2020|Estate Planning|

Personal Representative

The Purpose of a Personal Representative in Probate A personal representative is an individual approved by the court to settle an estate. This person may also be referred to as an executor/executrix or an administrator. This individual is in charge of overseeing the distribution of assets in probate court. They're also in charge of settling all aspects of an estate after someone passes away. If a decedent left a will, the personal representative should be named in that legal document. When a person passes away without a will, then the Probate Court names the personal representative. [...]

February 4th, 2020|Probate|

Intestate Succession

Michigan Intestate Succession Intestate succession occurs when a person dies without a written, legal document detailing how to distribute their property and assets. If a decedent passes away without a will or trust in place the estate usually goes through Probate Court. This process is both lengthy and expensive so it’s important to obtain legal council when a family member passes away without an estate plan. Each state has their own individual process to determine who inherits assets. This page focuses on intestate succession in the State of Michigan. Michigan's Laws on Dying Without [...]

January 7th, 2020|Probate|

Michigan Probate Laws

Michigan Probate Rules & Processes Probate is a legal process used for the administration of someone's assets after death. The process for probate varies depending on which state the individual resides in at the time of death. This article will focus on Michigan probate laws. Please note, that the information found within this article can serve as a useful guide; however, it should not be considered a substitute for professional legal advice. If you have legal issues related to probate in Michigan, you should contact an attorney that specializes in this area. Table of Contents [...]

December 17th, 2019|Probate|

Estate Planning Trusts

Guide to Estate Planning Trusts in Michigan According to survey results, most Americans believe that estate planning is important, but only 57% of people have a will. Trusts and estate planning are highly important responsibilities to take care of. If left unattended, an intestate death can result in unmanageable costs for family members as well as time-consuming legal complications. Nobody wants to leave their affairs in a mess, or cause their loved ones to be left in the middle of a legal battle. Fortunately, estate planning does not need to be difficult. Read on to learn [...]

November 9th, 2019|Estate Planning|

Elder Care Attorney

Elder Care 101: A Guide to Elder Law - Finding the Right Elder Care Attorney According to research, 15% of parents in the US are also caring for an elderly adult. With the population of seniors at 47 million (and on its way to doubling), many people are either facing the incapacitating effects of old age or are responsible for caring for a senior person. In many of these cases, the services of an elder care attorney might be needed. These types of attorneys specialize in what is known as elder law. Understanding elder law and the areas where [...]

November 6th, 2019|Elder Law|

Macomb County Probate Court

Macomb County Probate Court - What You Need To Know When a loved one dies, the process of facilitating their assets to family members can be straightforward or it can end in lots of litigation and claims. If the situation ends up going to probate, you need to understand the laws in your state and which court you need to visit to handle all these matters. You need to learn more about the Macomb County probate court so you can figure out what obligations you must fulfill and the processes you need to follow. To learn [...]

October 15th, 2019|Probate|

Probate Without A Will

No Will? There's Still a Way: A Guide to Michigan's Probate Laws According to survey results, over half of the adult US population does not have a will. Statistically, we are more likely to start drafting wills as we get older. However, in some cases, this does not happen, which can lead to a person passing away without a legal will. This is also termed dying intestate. If this has happened to a family member of yours, do not panic. Fortunately, there are provisions for you to carry out probate without a will. Read on to find out [...]

October 10th, 2019|Estate Planning|

Probate a Will

What it Takes to Probate a Will in Michigan This article discusses the process involved to probate a will, and covers other useful information regarding probate in the State of Michigan. When Someone Dies Without a Will When a person passes away without a will or trust their assets are declared intestate. This means that the state probate courts are in charge of administering the estate. This court-supervised legal process assigns a family member to gather the decedent’s assets, pay debts and taxes, and finally distribute assets to people who inherit them. Of course, [...]

September 27th, 2019|Probate|

Livonia Senior Citizen Resources

Resources for Senior Citizens in Livonia, MI As an experienced elder law, estate planning, and probate law firm, we regularly interact with many senior citizens and their families. These interactions provide us with unique insights on legal requirements and needs associated with the elderly population. We’ve prepared this page to provide information on various local resources for senior citizens located in the City of Livonia, MI. Continue reading to learn more. List of Free Elder Resources Below is a list of free senior citizen resources offered by the City of Livonia and certain non [...]

September 16th, 2019|Elder Law|

Plymouth Senior Citizen Resources

Resources for Senior Citizens in Plymouth, MI As an experienced law firm that practices in the areas of elder law, estate planning, and probate, we regularly deal with senior citizens and their families. As a result, we are very familiar with the unique needs associated with the aging population. This page provides information on resources for senior citizens in Plymouth, MI which is where our law firm is located. We hope you find these resources helpful. List of Free Elder Resources Below is a list of resources offered to senior citizens in Plymouth, MI. [...]

September 12th, 2019|Elder Law|

Michigan Estate Tax

An estate tax refers to a monetary fee imposed by the state or federal government based upon the value of someone’s estate after they pass away. In Michigan, there isn’t a “Michigan estate tax” persay; however, there are cases where individuals may be required to pay certain taxes after receiving assets. This article discusses aspects of inheritance tax, estate tax, and other relevant points regarding asset taxation in the State of Michigan. Asset Taxation in Michigan Michigan has a state sales tax of 6% and a state income tax of 4.25%. Michigan also taxes pensions and [...]

August 20th, 2019|Estate Planning|

What is Probate?

What is Probate? As an experienced law firm that routinely deals with elderly clients and their families, we are often asked “what is probate?” Before answering this question, it’s important to understand that there’s a specialized court known as “probate court.” These courts deal with specialized issues relating to illness, disability, and death. Simply put, probate is a court supervised process that oversees the distribution of someone’s assets and inheritance after they pass away. This article provides a background on probate and describes various legal issues that an attorney who practices in this area deals [...]

August 2nd, 2019|Probate|

What is Estate Planning?

What is Estate Planning? One of the more common questions our law firm encounters is “what is estate planning?” Before answering this question, it’s important to point out that estate planning is one of the most misunderstood concepts of law. For instance, many believe that this concept is only applicable to super wealthy or elderly individuals. Simply put, this is not true. The short answer to this question is that estate planning is setting up a plan so that your wishes are known in the event you become ill or pass away. This article provides [...]

What is Elder Law?

What is Elder Law? One of the most common questions our law firm is asked at seminars or by clients or their families is “what is elder law?” Although this is a simple question, the complete answer is more in depth then you may think. With that said, the short answer to this question is, elder law is an area of law that specializes in the legal needs associated with aging. This article provides background on this area of law and describes legal issues that an attorney practicing in this area focuses on. Background Elder [...]

July 17th, 2019|Elder Law|

8 Estate Planning Benefits

8 Estate Planning Benefits Estate planning protects you and your family. This protection becomes necessary if you become incapacitated, or when you pass away. Many issues should be addressed in a well written plan. The following article lists a few of these essential points. #1. Providing for Your Family When a loved one becomes incapacitated or passes away a family is under a great deal of stress. This is not the best time for the added burden of financial stressors. Prior legal planning assists a family during this difficult time. A properly written plan ensures [...]

Medicaid Trust – Protect Your Assets

Due to the expense of nursing home care some people turn to Medicaid to pay the high costs. Of course, Medicaid has numerous rules and qualifications before this coverage kicks in. In fact, Medicaid has a “countable” asset limit of $2,000. In other words, a nursing home resident and/or spouse must “spend down” or pay for their care until they almost have no money left. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can guide families through various ways in setting up a medicaid trust, or another type of trust to safeguard some of their assets. So, it’s extremely important [...]

May 20th, 2019|Elder Law|

Legal Issues Involving Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Legal Issues Involving Alzheimer’s & Dementia This article describes dementia legal issues as well as legal issues with similar conditions related to aging such as Alzheimer’s. Dementia is not a single disease, but a collective term used to describe various symptoms of cognitive decline that occur as part of aging. A person with dementia will present various symptoms that someone else or even themselves may notice. Early symptoms, which are as a result of memory loss include: Forgetfulness especially with language Disorientation Mood and personality changes Difficulty completing familiar tasks Misplacing things Problems with abstract [...]

April 24th, 2019|Elder Law|

Reasons To Update Your Estate Plan

Reasons To Update Your Estate Plan Estate plans must be updated regularly for various reasons. Plans reflect life and financial situations at a current time and offer protection in the event you should become incapacitated. However, over the years circumstances may change and estate plans may need revisions.  It is in your best interest to get in the routine of updating your estate plan every three to five years if not more often. Failure to do so may eventually cause issues in probate court. Examples Of When To Update Your Plan Various situations require a [...]

Elder Law Questions and Answers

Elder Law Questions and Answers The purpose of this article is to provide answers to several common elder law questions. Many of these questions relate to nursing home planning, more specifically, costs involved with nursing homes and how to protect your assets while maintaining quality care. What is elder law? Elder law is a field of law that specializes in legal issues which affect senior citizens. Elder law planning covers quite a few topics; but, there are a few key areas which routinely fall under its jurisdiction, namely health care, financial needs, and relationship [...]

December 12th, 2018|Elder Law|

When Is Probate Necessary?

When Is Probate Necessary? Probate is a fairly complex process; as a result, people often have many questions related to the topic. Common questions include: Is probate necessary if there’s a will? Do all assets have to go through probate? Is an attorney necessary? We will address these common questions, and provide further information below. Overview Probate is a legal process in court involving the distribution of assets from a deceased individual. This process applies to the death of any individual with an estate of any size, with or without a will in place. [...]

December 6th, 2018|Probate|

Estate Planning Basics

Estate Planning Basics There is considerable confusion around the topic of estate planning. Moreover, many people do not want to think about this topic since it naturally involves the thought of passing away. That being said, estate planning remains a very important aspect that should never be ignored or put off. This article discusses estate planning basics and when to establish an estate plan. When To Set Up An Estate Plan? Many individuals think that estate planning is only for the elderly; something to consider only after you have hit the golden years of [...]

November 27th, 2018|Estate Planning|

Oakland County Probate Court

Oakland County Probate Court The Oakland County Probate Court hears cases involving the distribution of wills, trusts, and estates after a person passes away. Furthermore, the court also hears cases involving conservatorships, guardianships, and issues related to mental health/disability. These cases are often complicated and require a thorough understanding of laws involved with each specific issue. Probate Court Processes Several issues related to probate have their own set of processes, fees, and legal documents. To obtain information related to a specific issue, see the links below. *Please Note* Information within the links below [...]

October 18th, 2018|Probate|

Wayne County Probate Court

Wayne County Probate Court The Wayne County Probate Court hears cases related to the administration of trusts & estates after a person passes away. This administration of assets can be done regardless of whether or not the deceased individual died with, or without a will. Additionally, probate courts may appoint conservatorship and guardianship on behalf of minors as well as incapacitated adults. Other issues commonly handled in probate court are cases related to mental health including: hospital care for mental illness, guardianship for individuals with mental disabilities, and more. Since these issues are often complex, it’s [...]

October 18th, 2018|Probate|