Estate Planning | Elder Law

What to Expect at a Michigan Guardianship Hearing

If your elder family member or loved one is having difficulty taking care of himself or herself, you may consider seeking appointment of a guardian. In a Michigan guardianship proceeding, the probate court appoints a person to make necessary decisions for a legally incapacitated individual. If you are considering seeking appointment as a guardian, or if someone else is seeking appointment as a guardian for your family member of loved one, … [Read more...]

BRMM Wins Trust Litigation Case in the Michigan Court of Appeals

BRMM attorney Andrew Mayoras recently won a probate litigation case concerning interpretation of the provisions of a trust agreement. The action arose following the death of the person who created the trust (decedent), when the surviving spouse (widow) and the decedent's sister disagreed on the interpretation of provisions of the trust relating to removal and selection of trustees. Dispute Over Interpretation of Trust Provisions During his … [Read more...]

Does the Family Have to Pay the Debts of a Person Who Dies?

When a family loses a loved one, the grieving process is difficult under any circumstances. Family members should be able to focus solely on supporting and consoling each other. Unfortunately, even while the family continues to grieve their loss, they also face the task of making sure that their loved one’s financial affairs are put in order. A question that often arises is whether family members are individually, personally responsible for … [Read more...]

Estate Planning, Retirement and Divorce: What You Should Know

Going through a divorce takes a toll under any circumstances. During the process and after the divorce is final, there are often a great number of matters that need to be addressed. Changing titles to real property as well as bank and other financial accounts, dividing up personal property, and moving or relocating are just some of the changes that may need to be accomplished. There is one very important step that should be taken as soon as … [Read more...]

What to Do When an Aging Parent Needs Help with Decisions — But Doesn’t Realize It

As your parents grow older, your foremost concern is making sure that they are comfortable and safe. As long as they can care for themselves and make necessary decisions about their daily and longer term needs, those concerns are eased. But what should you do when an aging patent starts to show signs that they may not be completely capable of taking care of themselves? Memory Loss in Elders — When Does It Become Cognitive Impairment? Almost … [Read more...]

ABLE Accounts in Michigan — Savings Plans for Individuals with Disabilities and their Families

ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience. The federal ABLE Act, signed into law in 2014, allows states to set up ABLE programs. The program was established to assist individuals with disabilities and their families in saving funds to maintain health, independence, and quality of life — without jeopardizing their access to federal and state funds. Michigan adopted its own ABLE law (MiABLE) in 2015. At the end of 2016, the Michigan … [Read more...]

Can an Ex-Spouse Still Inherit under a Will?

If you have recently divorced, or if you have a parent who has recently gone through a divorce, you and your family have gone through a difficult and emotional time. Most likely, you do not want to think about whether there are implications of the divorce that you have not fully considered. Even so, you should take the time to make certain that all your family's assets are secure from claims of the ex-spouse, including assets covered by a will, … [Read more...]

Domestic Asset Protection Trusts Are Now Legal in Michigan

Effective March 8, 2017, Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs) are legal in Michigan. This complete reversal of previous law is the result of two laws enacted by the Michigan legislature at the end of 2016. The change is an important new development in Michigan trust law. What Is a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT)? A domestic asset protection trust or DAPT is an irrevocable trust that allows the person creating the trust to benefit … [Read more...]

How to Talk with an Aging Parent about Memory Loss

Taking care of senior family members is a responsibility that you take on out of love and devotion. Sometimes, though, it is difficult to know when or how to raise important issues. One of the most challenging situations occurs when you begin noticing signs of memory loss. Knowing what to look for and how to talk with your loved one can help you navigate through this crucial time. What Are Common Signs of Memory Loss? It is not uncommon for … [Read more...]

Will You Owe 2016 Gift Taxes?

Michigan, like most states, does not have a state gift tax. However, the federal gift tax law in the Internal Revenue Code applies to everyone in all states, including Michigan. In any year, if you make gifts to relatives and friends, you may have to file a gift tax return and pay tax on the gifts. Many people wonder how to determine if they will owe 2016 gift taxes. What is a “Gift” for Tax Purposes? Are All Gifts Taxable? A gift is any … [Read more...]