Estate Planning | Elder Law

What Is the Importance of Registering a Michigan Trust?

If you have a trust in Michigan, state law provides that you can register the trust. Registering a Michigan trust is not required (except for certain charitable trusts, as discussed below). Even for non-charitable trusts, there are good reasons that a trust should be registered. How Is a Trust Registered? Provisions of Michigan’s Estate and Protected Individuals Act — commonly referred to as EPIC — establish trust registration rules about who … [Read more...]

Federal Estate Tax and Gift Tax Changes in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act Provide New Opportunities for Tax Savings

Most of the changes in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which became effective on January 1, 2018, relate to income taxes. However, the law includes important and significant changes that affect federal estate tax and gift tax as well. For now, those changes are only temporary, but they provide immediate opportunities for estate tax and gift tax savings for individuals and couples who take advantage of the new provisions while they are in effect. The … [Read more...]

Should You Consider a Domestic Asset Protection Trust for Your Michigan Vacation Home?

Many Michigan families own a cottage or cabin up north for vacations and weekend getaways as well as family retreats and reunions. Often, the property is faithfully protected as part of the family legacy and is passed down from generation to generation. As a family celebrates births and marriages — and grows in number — sometimes tension can arise among family members about matters such as who can use the cottage at specific times and who is … [Read more...]

Challenging a Patient Advocate Designation / Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney

When an individual signs a legally valid patient advocate designation, the document gives another person the authority to make healthcare decisions for the individual who signed should he or she become unable to make those decisions. The powers of the patient advocate become effective only in the event the individual executing the designation becomes incapacitated. While most patient advocates carefully perform their responsibilities, there … [Read more...]

Estate Planning for Florida Snowbirds from Michigan

If you are a Florida snowbird who hails from Michigan, you know that laws in both states affect many aspects your life. Your estate plan can be particularly impacted. How can you be sure your plan protects your interests and your assets in two different places? You might think that you need one lawyer in Michigan and another one in Florida to make certain you’re covered in both places — but you don’t. Our trusted estate planning lawyers at … [Read more...]

What Problems Will Your Family Face If You Die Without a Will?

If you die without a will or estate plan — referred to as dying intestate — your family may face a myriad of problems, some of which may not easily be resolved. Those problems can result in serious family disagreements and even tear a family apart. Your wishes about who should benefit from your estate may not be honored. Family members and loved ones could be left without the financial security you want them to have. Michigan Intestacy Laws If … [Read more...]

How Do I Prove Whether Mom Was — Or Was Not — Competent When She Changed Her Will?

When an elderly parent passes away, adult children sometimes discover that changes were made to the parent’s will without the child’s knowledge. Especially if there were significant changes in beneficiaries and gifts, those changes can raise questions about the parent’s competence when the will was revised. When you find yourself in that situation, how can you determine whether Mom was competent when she changed her will? Michigan law provides … [Read more...]

A Power of Attorney Is Not a License to Steal

How many of us plan adequately for a lifetime disability? Leaving your planning to chance and unforeseen circumstances will only breed disaster. If you are unable to handle your own affairs (business, financial and personal), who will do so for you? Chances are that we will all suffer a debilitating illness such as a stroke, injury, accident, Alzheimer's or old age, before we die. Did you know that if you do become incapacitated you will become … [Read more...]

Florida Snowbirds from Michigan: Considerations in Choosing Your State of Residence

Michiganders who spend winters in sunny Florida often ask two fundamental legal questions: Should I change my legal residence from Michigan to Florida? What’s involved in making a change in my state of residence? Neither question has a simple, quick answer. However, understanding the implications of changing your state of residence and knowing how a change is accomplished provide a good starting point for considering whether the change is in … [Read more...]

How Is a Trust Created?

Trusts are often used in financial and estate planning. A trust is a legal arrangement under which a trustee holds, manages, and disburses assets for the benefit of one of more beneficiaries. But how is a trust created? In Michigan, there are specific statutory provisions relating to creation of trusts. Michigan Law on Creating a Trust The person who creates a trust is referred to as the grantor or settlor of the trust. The trustee is the … [Read more...]