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2 03, 2023

Putting A House Into Trust

March 2nd, 2023|Estate Planning|

Putting a house into a trust can be an effective way to protect your property and ensure that it is distributed according to your wishes. A trust is a legal arrangement in which you transfer ownership of your assets, including your house, to a trustee who manages them for the benefit of your beneficiaries. There are many benefits to putting a home into a legal trust with a specific process involved in creating one. The Benefits of Putting a House into a Legal Trust There are several benefits to putting a house into a legal trust, [...]

30 01, 2023

Estate Planning and Divorce in Michigan

January 30th, 2023|Estate Planning|

Couples begin married life with hopes and visions of “happily ever after.” For a wide variety of reasons these dreams sometimes fail. When this happens marriages often end in divorce. During this stressful time, the main focus is on financial considerations and custodial issues. A divorce lawyer navigates settlements and custody issues. However, an estate planning attorney should advise you regarding estate planning documents. In short, it’s vital to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney before and after your divorce. Estate Plan Documents An estate plan is vital for most adults. A solid estate [...]

11 07, 2022

How to Remove a Beneficiary or Trustee

July 11th, 2022|Estate Planning|

Many people establish trusts as part of their estate planning documents. The person who establishes the trust, the settlor, may change their trust with the help of their attorney. However, once the settlor passes away, the trust becomes “irrevocable.” This means the trust may not be changed without a very good reason and the beneficiaries and trustee must go through the court. The Michigan Legislature has complex laws which regulate any changes to legal estate planning documents. So, the advice and knowledge of an experienced estate planning attorney becomes vital if you need to alter any [...]

26 04, 2022

Estate Planning For Business Owners

April 26th, 2022|Estate Planning|

The American economy depends on small businesses. The Small Business Association defines a small business as an independent business with fewer than 1500 employees. Interestingly, 90% of these businesses have less than 20 employees. Regardless of size, small business owners need well-constructed estate plans which protect the business if the owner becomes incapacitated. Additionally, every owner should discuss and establish succession plan documents. Businesses may be tied up in court for months or years without proper legal papers. Therefore, small business owners should meet with an experienced, estate planning attorney to discuss, write, and file these [...]

30 03, 2022

Preventing Trust and Estate Disputes

March 30th, 2022|Estate Planning|

Your family is everything to you. It is important that they are well taken care of even after you are gone. However, wills can get messy. There are many causes of trust and estate disputes that can lead to litigation. Litigation often involves costly probate law courts. A judge would have to decide who gets what assets in these courts. You would also need a probate lawyer. Besides being costly, this can be a time-consuming process. That is why it is important to set up a clear trust ahead of time with one of our trust [...]

28 02, 2022

Myths About Estate Planning Debunked

February 28th, 2022|Estate Planning|

Estate planning can be intimidating. For one thing, estate planning is essentially planning for what will happen after you die. In American culture, in particular, this can be difficult to confront. For this reason, many Americans are not properly taught about the ins and outs of estate planning. They're told to fear it, rather than embrace it. As such, you probably won't be able to handle estate planning on your own, and should instead work with an estate planning law firm. Part of the reason why people don't get active about estate planning is that they [...]

3 02, 2022

Estate Planning Firms Explained

February 3rd, 2022|Estate Planning|

For many people, estate planning is a thorny issue. In fact, of Americans who are over 55 years of age, only 18% have a will, or power of attorney. The reality is that many people may feel that they have no assets of value and therefore don't need to go to the trouble of organizing their assets or making financial and legal plans with an estate planning firm. However, it's important to realize that estate planning provides much more than simply protecting your assets. It provides insight into what you want to leave behind for your [...]

8 12, 2021

What Is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?

December 8th, 2021|Estate Planning|

Both a will and a trust are estate planning tools that can help you ensure that your assets are protected in the event you are not there to make decisions. However, there are several differences between these documents. Read on to find out what differences exist between a will and a trust. When They Come Into Action One of the key differences between a will and a trust is when they come into action. A will is a document that lays down your wishes and kicks into action after your death. On the other hand, [...]

30 11, 2021

Social Security Scam

November 30th, 2021|Estate Planning|

In today's world there are many ways in which seniors and those most vulnerable in our society are scammed or cheated out of their money and benefits. This has unfortunately become even easier as time goes on thanks to the ever increasing sophistication of technology that can enable these scams to be conducted far outside the jurisdiction of US authorities. Typically these scams take place in the form of a call, text message, email or another form of electronic communication. The most common and insidious of these scams are the ones involving an individual's Social Security. [...]

28 10, 2021

5 Benefits of Working With an Estate Planning Attorney

October 28th, 2021|Estate Planning|

Estate planning is an intelligent thing to do regardless of your current health and financial status. Nevertheless, not so many people know where to start the process. The first important thing is to hire an estate planning attorney to help you with it. The following are five benefits of working with an estate planning attorney. 1. Distribute Your Assets One benefit of working with an estate planning attorney is you'll be able to specify how you want to distribute your lifelong assets by getting a will. The percentage of people who don't know how to [...]

30 09, 2021

Top Reasons Estate Planning Is So Important

September 30th, 2021|Estate Planning|

While it's never one of the most enjoyable things to do, estate planning or deciding how your assets will be distributed after you pass is very important. However, today, even after factoring in the Covid-19 pandemic, statistics still find that about two-thirds of adults don't have a will. For those who doubt the necessity of an estate plan, here are some top reasons that will convince you of its importance. Prevent Family Wars It's not unusual for a family war to break out right after a beloved has passed away, and everyone wants a piece [...]

22 09, 2021

Estate Fraud Information

September 22nd, 2021|Estate Planning|

Unfortunately, when it comes to estate management there are times when the person who should be trusted the most ends up committing fraud against the estate. These situations usually involve the executor or another individual who is intimately involved in the handling of the estate. Luckily, under Michigan law there is recourse for situations like these, with the penalties for stealing from an estate clearly laid out. Details and Recourse Under MCL 700.1205, there are four subsections that lay out the process of handling estate fraud in Michigan. Under subsection (1), the probate court is given [...]

30 08, 2021

6 Reasons to Hire an Elder Law Attorney

August 30th, 2021|Estate Planning|

Elder abuse is a worrisome public health concern whose cases are becoming increasingly common. Each year, one in every thirteen older adults above 60 suffers a form of abuse, including neglect and exploitation. As your loved one ages, they may become vulnerable to attacks, theft, and assault. You may need to have an elder law attorney to ensure that their rights, finances, and dignity remain protected. If you are wondering why you would need an elder law office, here are six common reasons to hire an elder lawyer. 1. Complicated Long-term Care Plans You may [...]

2 08, 2021

What Are the Advantages of a Living Trust?

August 2nd, 2021|Estate Planning|

Having a living trust is becoming more popular by the day with a growing number of Americans having living trusts as part of their estate plans. It is similar to a last will and testament, and it gives you the ability to transfer ownership of your estate to the designated beneficiaries by a successor trustee named by you. The following are four advantages of having a living trust. It Protects Your Privacy Because a living trust is a private document between the parties involved, you are assured of total privacy of your assets and their distribution. [...]

15 06, 2021

Detailed Analysis of Special Needs Trusts

June 15th, 2021|Estate Planning|

Caring for your special needs child can be a challenging task, especially in today's complex and busy world. Thanks to advances in medical technology, children with special needs, disabilities and chronic illnesses now often outlive their parents. While this is an excellent development, it has created a concern for parents of these children regarding their long term care needs. The biggest concern is how to ensure existing assets and funding are transferred to the children, as well as how these will be administered after the parents are no longer in the picture. The best solution to [...]

21 07, 2020

Estate Planning Checklist

July 21st, 2020|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

10 06, 2020

Guardianship and Conservatorship in Michigan

June 10th, 2020|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

21 05, 2020

Estate Planning Documents

May 21st, 2020|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

15 05, 2020

Special Needs Trust

May 15th, 2020|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

21 04, 2020

Trust Protector

April 21st, 2020|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

1 04, 2020

Estate Planning During The Health Crisis

April 1st, 2020|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

1 04, 2020

Who Can Override a Power of Attorney

April 1st, 2020|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

9 03, 2020

Life Estate

March 9th, 2020|Estate Planning|

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? [...]

19 02, 2020

Lady Bird Deed

February 19th, 2020|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

9 11, 2019

Estate Planning Trusts

November 9th, 2019|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

10 10, 2019

Probate Without A Will

October 10th, 2019|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

20 08, 2019

Michigan Estate Tax

August 20th, 2019|Estate Planning|

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 [...]

23 07, 2019

What is Estate Planning?

July 23rd, 2019|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 [...]

23 05, 2019

8 Estate Planning Benefits

May 23rd, 2019|Estate Planning|

A well written estate plan provides protection to an individual's most important assets - their children, spouse and greater family. This protection becomes necessary in the event an individual becomes incapacitated, or passes away. In these situations, an estate plan can have many benefits. Consulting with an experienced attorney specializing in estate planning can help create a well written plan that guarantees the best outcome possible for an individual and their family. Below is a list of eight of the most important benefits of a well written estate plan. #1. Providing for Your Family When a [...]

8 04, 2019

Updating Estate Plan

April 8th, 2019|Estate Planning|

Estate plans are critical to ensure a person's life work and wealth is protected and is passed down appropriately to their heirs. Since life and financial circumstances change over time, estate plans must be updated regularly in order to offer the best protection possible in the event an individual becomes incapacitated or passes away. Generally speaking, it is good practice to have estate plans routinely updated every three to five years at a minimum, if not more often. Failure to update estate plans on a routine basis may eventually cause issues in probate court. Because of [...]

27 11, 2018

Estate Planning Basics

November 27th, 2018|Estate Planning|

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 [...]