When Can a Handwritten Note Amend a Trust?

Posted on December 1, 2014
To determine whether an undated, handwritten note can alter a trust agreement, two sources provide the answer: (1) the express terms of the trust document and (2) Michigan statute. While a trust document should provide the explicit manner in which the settlor may amend... CONTINUE READING

National Estate Planning Awareness Week

Posted on October 21, 2014
An estimated 55% of Americans die without a will or an estate plan, according to information published by the American Bar Association (ABA). Worse yet, those who have been lured by the low-cost and seemingly simple do-it-yourself estate planning packages, may find that a... CONTINUE READING

Governor Approves Bill To Prevent Further Uncapping Of Property Taxes

Posted on October 15, 2014
Governor Snyder has approved a bill that will increase the allowable exceptions to uncapping the taxable value for property transfers under MCL 211.27a. Public Act 310 of 2014, which goes into effect December 31, 2014, will allow certain transfers of real property to and... CONTINUE READING

Life Estate Holder May Claim Personal Residence Exemption

Posted on June 19, 2014
A recent Michigan Court of Appeals opinion held that a life estate holder was a home “owner” and, therefore, entitled to a Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) under Michigan’s General Property Tax Act. Flowers v Township of Bedford, ___ NW2d ____ (2014). The PRE, often... CONTINUE READING

5 Things To Know About Gun Trusts

Posted on February 7, 2014
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) estimates that there are more than 234 million firearms in the United States. Others have estimated the number to be closer to 300 million. Whatever the actual number, it is undisputed that many Americans own... CONTINUE READING

New Year, New Resolution: Update or Create Your Estate Plan

Posted on January 13, 2014
If you have resolved to get fit, get organized, or get out of debt in 2014, you are not alone. According to research published on statisticbrain.com, 45% of all Americans usually make a new year’s resolution. And, as you might have guessed, fitness and... CONTINUE READING

Are In Terrorem Clauses Ineffective?

Posted on July 10, 2013
In terrorem clauses are clauses drafted into wills and trusts to prevent squabbling over a decedent’s assets by providing that any interested person who unsuccessfully contests the will or trust will receive nothing. Although Michigan law holds that in terrorem clauses are enforceable, many... CONTINUE READING

Proposed Legislation Would Allow Personal Representatives Access to Online Accounts

Posted on May 17, 2013
Michigan’s statute that regulates a personal representative’s rights and responsibilities with regard to the deceased’s personal property and estate may soon be going high tech. Senate Bill No. 293, proposed earlier this year, seeks to amend Michigan’s Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC) by... CONTINUE READING

New Durable Power of Attorney Requirements in Effect 10/1/2012

Posted on October 22, 2012
In May 2012, the governor signed into law an updated statute addressing durable power of attorney – MCL 700.5501. This created several new requirements for a general durable power of attorney (DPOA) in Michigan. A significant new requirement that must be included in all... CONTINUE READING