A Living Trust

You can put property into a living trust while you are still alive. When you die, your property immediately passes to your beneficiaries. This eliminates going through probate court, which can be expensive and time consuming. You can revoke a living trust at any time if you change your mind.

A Living Will

It is a legally binding document that dictates one’s wish not be kept alive by artificial life support systems in the event of a terminal illness where you are no longer able to express your wishes because you are unconscious. Furthermore, by limiting treatment, a living will sets limits on hospital bills, which can substantially or even completely drain one’s assets so that there is little left in the estate for your beneficiaries.

A Testamentary Will

It is a legal document that dictates how your property is to be distributed after death. It may also designate guardians for your children. Your will must pass through probate court before your estate can be distributed to your beneficiaries.

  1. Peace of mind before you rest in peace.
  2. Avoid family conflicts. Grandpa would roll over in his grave if he saw how his family was squabbling over his money and/or his possessions.
  3. Leave instructions on your wishes for your remains. You always wanted to donate your body to science, but instead you wind up sitting in some urn on someone’s mantle.
  4. Trust provision for minors and young adults – without one, 18 year old Junior will have a party with his inheritance and dispose of all of his inheritance before turning 19.
  5. Guardianship – You name the person you want to raise the kids instead of having a probate judge decide without your input.
  6. Property – If you do not decide how to dispose of your property, the state will use intestate succession rules. These rules apply when the decedent leaves no Will, the Will is denied by probate, or the Will fails to dispose of all of the decedent’s property.
  7. Surviving spouse – Have your surviving spouse inherit all of your assets which you hold in your name only or maybe not. You can limit which assets you hold in your name will pass to your surviving spouse with a properly drafted Will. However, you cannot completely disinherit a spouse because Michigan has an elective share statute giving a surviving spouse the right to elect either the terms of the Will or a share of the estate as determined by statute.
  8. Exclusions – Make sure that your spendthrift child, to whom you have already given much of your savings, does not inherit when you die.
  9. Charity – Make a contribution to your favorite charity before facing your maker – this will be your last chance to get some points in the plus column.
  10. When your brain wave is flat, you want someone to pull the plug; however, because your descendants can’t agree, you remain on a ventilator while the hospital bill climbs through the roof and eats up all of your estate.

Legislature Creates Family Division of Circuit Court

Effective January 1, 1999, each circuit court in Michigan will have a family division that will hear cases dealing with nearly every aspect of family law, from divorce, child and spousal support and child custody, to child abuse and neglect, paternity and delinquency. Each division will include judges from both the probate and circuit courts. […]

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New Rules Allow Faster Growth

As of January 1, 1997, the maximum annual tax deferred contribution a married couple can take, as a deduction off their gross income, has been increased from $2,250 to $4,000 when only one spouse is employed.

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Three Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw IRA Funds

Many retirement savers believe that they may not withdraw their Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contributions before they reach age 59 1/2 without incurring a 10% tax penalty. Yet, with some restrictions, current tax law allows traditional IRA and Roth IRA owners to withdraw a portion of their IRA money in “substantially equal” amounts each year […]

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Settlement Reached in Toledo Case

Charles Nichols litigated a legal malpractice case which was recently settled for $82,500.00. The plaintiff was injured when a gang plank collapsed beneath her while she was leaving a Caribbean island that was owned and operated by Norwegian Cruise Lines. When she got home, she sought the assistance of a prominent Toledo attorney who accepted […]

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Attorney Eberth Obtains $75,000.00 Settlement From Meijer’s for Falling Tile

While shopping at Meijer’s Thrifty Acres in Taylor, our client was struck by a ceiling tile that was saturated with water and which fell some twenty feet from the ceiling above. As a result, our client suffered headaches and neck pain which at times so incapacitated him that he had to retire early. The case […]

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Important Changes in Probate Law

In the wake of a recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision, attorneys are cautioning clients against accepting benefits under a will, trust, or other testamentary document if there is a chance they will want to challenge any part of the document later. This ruling has serious implications for situations in probate court where individuals accept […]

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“As Is” Isn’t Always What It Seems

In today’s regulated and litigated world, the selling and purchasing of real estate requires careful planning. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Michigan Environmental Response Act (MERA) distribute responsibility for the cleanup of environmental contamination among a broadly defined group–frequently including prior property owners. With cleanup costs often exceeding market […]

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Changes in the Tax Law Regarding the Sale of a Home

Effective May 6, 1997, tax treatment for capital gains realized on the sale of a residence has become more favorable. An individual who has lived in a home for at least two of the past five years is entitled to an exclusion from taxes of the first $250,000 from the sale of the home. Married […]

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