Practice Areas

DECENDENTS ESTATE

Despite people’s best intentions, families often fight over their loved ones’ estate. Probate and related proceedings are designed to settle those disputes.

Disputes such as:

a)      contests of wills and trusts;

b)      construction or interpretation of wills and trusts;

c)      joint tenancies;

d)      claims against estates for debts or services rendered to the decedent;

e)      division of personal property;  

f)      retrieval of assets from individuals who have acquired them improperly, and many more. 

The reality is, we do not look for contests, but they usually arise. We try and settle those contents to our client’s satisfaction, but will fight if necessary. It’s important to note that not all probate attorneys handle contested proceedings.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

WILLS & TRUSTS

Within your lifetime you will accrue a wide variety of assets. The best way to determine what happens to those assets is by creation of wills and trusts. These assets can include: property, land, company shares, businesses, cash, bank accounts, artwork, jewelry, cars and all other possessions.

However, what happens to your assets after you die?

Simply put, that is completely up to you; they are your assets and you decide who gets them upon your death. This is where a will comes in.

Will

A will is a simple document that outlines what your assets are and whom you want them to go to. This is a legal document, which will be used in probate after your passing to ensure that your assets go to the rightful beneficiaries. Anybody over the age of eighteen can write a will so long as they are of sound mind. A will must also be witnessed by people who are not beneficiaries of the will, in any way. State law will determine how many witnesses you need.

Many people never get around to making a will, and when they die the courts then distribute assets according to state laws. Normally an executor is appointed, and this person will deal with the disbursement of assets under the supervision of the probate court. If there is no executor, the probate court will appoint an estate administrator to deal with the distribution of assets. If on the other hand, you have no beneficiaries or relatives and have not made a will, it is possible that all of your assets will be claimed by the state.

When you make a will you will need to list all of your assets and outstanding debts. All of the outstanding debts listed in your will are paid off upon your death, and remaining assets are distributed in accordance to your wishes. Next, you should make a list of all beneficiaries, and decide who should receive what. When doing so, remember to list your beneficiaries by full name and relationship to avoid any confusion. If there are any items not specifically listed on your will, they will be distributed by the courts in accordance to state laws. If you do not wish for this to happen, you should include a clause that leaves the remainder of your estate to a specific person of your choice.

Assets that have contractual beneficiaries, such as a house with a joint mortgage or a joint bank account, are not addressed in the will as they already have a beneficiary, the joint owner. However, as mentioned above, all other assets should be listed in your will.

Should any circumstances in your life change, such as the birth of a child or grandchild or the acquisition of new assets, you may wish to change your will. It is important that you ensure that your current will is destroyed once you have created a new will and have had it witnessed. Your will is a document that will be of paramount importance after your death, particularly if you have a lot of material assets. It is therefore important that you keep it in a safe place, and let trusted family members and your lawyer know where it can be found.

Living Will

It is also important to create a living will, otherwise known as an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD).  Listed below, are the top 10 things you need to know about a living will. . .

  1. A living will is a legal document that declares your wishes regarding the use of life-sustaining treatment should you become incapacitated from a terminal illness or a persistent/permanent vegetative state.
  2. A living will, in most cases, only becomes effective when you are permanently unconscious or terminally ill and unable to communicate your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment.
  3. A living will cannot be revoked by anybody but you, and you can change it anytime while you have mental-competency/capacity.
  4. Most states have laws providing that a living will's directives may not be followed if you are pregnant.
  5. A living will authorizes doctors to follow the instructions contained in the document once a determination of incapacity is made.
  6. Each state has specific laws dictating how a living will is to be executed. Most states provide that any competent person eighteen years of age or older can make a living will by signing it in front of two or more witnesses (who also sign the document attesting that the document was signed in their presence). Usually the witnesses cannot be related to you, and they should not be beneficiaries of your estate or have financial responsibilities for your medical care.
  7. A living will generally only avoids treatment when it is determined that recovery is hopeless and any treatment would only prolong the dying process. Your doctor must first determine if your prognosis fits those criteria before your living will has any effect on medical decisions.
  8. Because it is difficult to anticipate every medical condition you may face, it is often a good idea to designate an agent to act as a substitute healthcare decision-maker for you. A Health Care Power of Attorney is a document that designates an agent to make healthcare decisions for an individual. It is different from a living will in that a living will does not appoint anyone to make medical decisions for you. A living will is only a partial safety net in the event there is nobody to assume the duties of making medical decisions on your behalf under your Health Care Power of Attorney.
  9. Many states have laws that protect healthcare providers when they use good faith in following stipulations in a valid living will. Some statutes impose criminal penalties on those who act in bad faith.
  10. A living will is a simple form that may be purchased in most office supply stores. Nevertheless, as part of developing an overall estate plan, you should have your attorney review this document. Failing to properly execute a living will means that it will not be recognized and your wishes will not be carried out.

Trust

A trust is a fiduciary agreement that is generally created to protect your assets and/or minimize liabilities. There are many variations of trusts many of which usually avoid the probate process which can allow beneficiaries quicker access to your assets, save money on court fees, etc. The type of trust that is best for you and your assets will be determined by your specific needs and concerns.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

CONTESTED ESTATES

We represent beneficiaries and fiduciaries involved in disputes regarding estates and trusts. More specifically:

a)      Will and trust contests;

b)      Contested claims;

c)      Will and trust construction; and

d)      Trust reformation.

We are committed to helping resolve disputes in a manner that minimizes litigation expenses and preserves protected assets.  We strive to seek resolution through negotiation and settlement before drawing on the skills of our experienced litigators in court.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

TITLE ISSUES


Title describes the rightful ownership of property and sometimes others can have claim to that very property.

For example, when you are purchasing a home you are purchasing title to that real estate. Other individuals or entities could have claims on the very property that you're trying to buy. Specifically, there could be unpaid mortgages or unpaid tax liens filed against the property. In other words, those claims "cloud" the title and prevent you from receiving "clear" title to the property.

If that is the case, an action to quiet title must be brought in order to establish ownership of the property.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

JUDGMENT/SETTLEMENT DISTRIBUTION


Structured settlements are lawsuit settlements involving specific payments made over a period of time. Insurance companies often buy life insurance products to pay the costs of such structured settlements. Structured settlements more often than not offer only small monthly payments. As such, many structured settlement firms try to purchase these lucrative contracts at pennies on the dollar. The structured settlement is then sold for an immediate lump sum.

What is a Judgment?

A judgment or judgement (see spelling note below), in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit. At the same time the court may also make a range of court orders, such as imposing a sentence upon a guilty defendant in a criminal matter, or providing a remedy for the plaintiff in a civil matter. . . *(More – Click Here)

What is a Settlement?

In law there are two main meanings of the word settlement. The first, and most common meaning, refers to when the parties to a dispute (both disputes that are being litigated before the courts, and disputes where court action has not been started) reach an agreement as to the case, which is said to 'settle' the claim. . . *(More – Click Here)

*Definitions provided by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

PROBATE


If you are currently in a situation where you’ll be dealing with the Michigan state court system in relation to a probate or estate related matter, or if you think that you will be in this kind of situation in the near future, it is important that you hire an attorney that knows the ins and outs of Michigan probate law.

Probate law has to do with the handling of an estate when someone, such as a family member or other loved one, passes away. These are the laws that make sure that the creditors are paid properly and that assets are distributed to the “heirs,” or the descendant. When you find yourself in a situation where you’ll be dealing with probate law, it’s a good idea to already have in mind what you are going to need to do.

Probate is a legal process that begins with a “petition” (a request) to open the estate and name a personal representative. In order to act on behalf of the decedent and transfer assets pursuant to a will, a personal representative appointed. The personal representative will then be given letters of authority to act on decedent’s behalf. The court will determine whether the estate will be unsupervised or supervised. The court may supervise an estate in order to make sure assets are being properly transferred.

The next step is when an official Notice of Creditors is printed in a local newspaper and Notice of Administration is sent to other involved parties. Creditors then have a set amount of time to file their claims from the first date of publication. Then the personal representative can pay the debt and distribute the remaining estate. Finally, a petition for discharge is filed, and the estate is closed.

While on one hand, this may sound simple, probate law and the handling of estates is in fact a complex system, which presents you with multiple requirements and tasks to be performed by the personal representative, an experienced attorney and a tax consultant. For example, an estate including only a single house and single bank account that has been left to a single beneficiary will probably be a far easier and quicker process to deal with than an estate containing multiple houses that are located in various states, and that are left to multiple beneficiaries. This becomes especially difficult if an estate includes leaving assets to a minor.

To avoid the expenses and time restraints of probate, a trust may be utilized. Assets are transferred into the trust, and a trustee is named as the individual responsible for managing the assets for the beneficiaries. A trust has several benefits including minimizing estate taxes, shielding assets from potential creditors, preserving assets for your children until they are grown, and creating a pool of investments managed by a professional.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

GUARDIANSHIP

A guardianship is a court supervised proceeding where a person (the guardian) is appointed by the court to act on behalf of another (the ward) and/or to manage the ward's assets if the ward is a minor or incapacitated.

In other words, a guardianship is a legal right given to a person who will be responsible for the health care, housing, and other personal necessities of a person who is deemed fully or partially incapable of providing these necessities for himself or herself.

Legal guardianships typically become necessary when a person is no longer able to manage his or her own estate and/or care for themselves. A guardianship can be obtained over a person, his or her estate, or both.

Guardianships are similar to probate in the sense that they can too be costly, require Court supervision, and take time. However, with proper estate planning you can avoid the use of a guardianship altogether. Nonetheless, if it becomes necessary to establish a guardianship, we are here to help guide you through the process.

Listed below, are some frequently asked questions about a guardianship. . .

1.      Is a Guardian Required for an Adult?

It may be necessary to petition a court to appoint a legal guardian for persons:

  • Who have a physical or mental problem that prevents them from taking care of their own basic needs;
  • Who as a result are in danger of substantial harm; and
  • Who have no person already legally authorized to assume responsibility for them.

Under some circumstances, it may be necessary for a court to appoint an emergency guardian, who can act on your behalf during a crisis (such as immediately following a car accident) until you regain your ability to make your own decisions.

2.      How is a Guardian Appointed? The precise procedure will vary to some degree from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The typical steps are as follows:

a)      The person seeking the appointment of a guardian files a petition with the probate court for the jurisdiction where the allegedly legally incapacitated person resides. This petitioner is often a relative, an administrator for a nursing home or health care facility, or other interested person. A petition is ordinarily accompanied by medical affidavits or other sworn statements which evidence the person's incapacity, and either identifies the person or persons who desire to be named guardian or requests the appointment of a public guardian.

b)      The court arranges for any necessary evaluation of the allegedly legally incapacitated person. Often, this will involve the appointment of a "guardian ad litem", a person who is appointed to provide an independent report to the court on behalf of the allegedly legally incapacitated person. If appointed, the guardian ad litem will meet with the allegedly incapacitated person, inform that person of his or her legal rights, and report back to the court on the person's wishes. The guardian ad litem may also speak to the petitioner, to health care providers, and to other interested individuals in order to provide the court with full information about the allegedly incapacitated person's condition and prognosis. Depending upon state law, the court may appoint a doctor or professional to examine the allegedly incapacitated person.

c)      If the allegedly incapacitated person contests the appointment of a guardian, a trial is scheduled during which sworn testimony will be given, and at the conclusion of which the judge will decide if the petitioner met the requisite burden of proof for the appointment of a guardian. The allegedly incapacitated person is ordinarily entitled to appointed counsel, if unable to afford a private attorney.

d)      If the allegedly incapacitated person consents to the petition, or is unable to respond to inquiries due to disability, the court will hold a hearing at which witnesses will provide sworn testimony to support the allegations in the petition. If the evidentiary basis is deemed sufficient, the guardian will be appointed.

e)      If a guardian is appointed, the judge will issue the guardian legal documents (often called "letters of authority") permitting the guardian to act on behalf of the legally incapacitated person.

3.      What Are a Guardian’s Duties?

The guardian makes decisions about how the person lives, including their residence, health care, food, and social activity. The guardian is supposed to consider the wishes of the incapacitated person, as well as their previously established valued, when making these living decisions. The guardian is intended to monitor the legally incapacitated person, to make sure that the person lives in the most appropriate, least restrictive environment possible, with appropriate food, clothing, social opportunities, and medical care.

A guardian may be required to post a bond, unless the requirement is waived by the court. In most jurisdictions where bond is required, waivers are routine.

4.      What is the Purpose of Court Supervision?

The court supervises the guardian's choices on behalf of the ward. After the initial appointment of a guardian, an initial review is usually scheduled, followed by annual reports by the guardian to the court. The purpose of this supervision is to ensure that the legally incapacitated person is in fact benefiting from the most appropriate, least restrictive living environment possible, with appropriate food, clothing, social opportunities, and medical care.

5.      What about Co-Guardians?

Sometimes, relatives of a legally incapacitated person will request that they be made co-guardians for that person. If this is done, depending upon the laws of the jurisdiction and the terms of the appointment, it may be necessary for both co-guardians to approve any decision made on behalf of the legally incapacitated person. This can create needless delay in the administration of emergency care, and can create difficulty in establishing authority for even minor decisions. Thus, it is usually advisable not to have co-guardians, but instead to name a single guardian, perhaps with the other relative named as a successor guardian.

6.      How to Avoid Guardianship?

It is possible to avoid the necessity of a guardianship through estate planning. A good estate plan will include a medical power of attorney which will enable a trusted individual to make health care decisions for you in the event of incapacity, and a general durable power of attorney to permit a trusted individual to manage your personal affairs. To a considerable extent, those documents can specify how you wish to live, and how you wish to be treated, in the event of disability – whereas a court or guardian may make decisions with which you would disagree. In most cases, when these documents have been executed in accord with the laws of your state, it will not be necessary for your loved ones to seek the appointment of a guardian or conservator should something happen to you – something that can be cumbersome and emotionally taxing at an already difficult time.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

CONSERVATORSHIP

A conservatorship is used when a designated person is assigned to manage another’s personal finances and/or estate.

Listed below, are some frequently asked questions about a guardianship. . .

 

 

 

1.      When Is A Conservatorship Required

It may be necessary to petition a court to appoint a legal guardian for persons:

  • Who have physical or mental problems that prevent them from managing their own financial affairs;
  • Who have no person already legally authorized to assume responsibility for them; and
  • Where other kinds of assistance with financial management will not adequately protect them.  

2.      When can I Establish a Probate Conservatorship? You must be sure that establishing a conservatorship is the only way to meet the person's needs. If there is another way, the Court will not grant your petition.

You may not need a conservatorship if the person who needs help:

  • Can cooperate with a plan to meet his/her basic needs.
  • Has the capacity and willingness to sign a power of attorney naming someone to help you with his/her finances or healthcare decisions.
  • Has only social security or welfare income every month and the Social Security Administration can appoint you Representative Payee. The Representative Payee is the person the beneficiary allows to receive Social Security checks in their name on behalf of the beneficiary.
  • Is married and the spouse can handle financial transactions. The property must be community property or in joint accounts.

3.      How is a Conservator Appointed? The precise procedure will vary to some degree from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The typical steps are as follows:

a)      The person seeking the appointment of a conservator files a petition with the probate court for the jurisdiction where the allegedly legally incapacitated person resides. This petitioner is often a relative, an administrator for a nursing home or health care facility, or other interested person. A petition is ordinarily accompanied by medical affidavits or other sworn statements which evidence the person's incapacity, and either identifies the person or persons who desire to be named conservator or requests the appointment of a conservator.

b)      The court arranges for any necessary evaluation of the allegedly legally incapacitated person. Often, this will involve the appointment of a "guardian ad litem", a person who is appointed to provide an independent report to the court on behalf of the allegedly legally incapacitated person. If appointed, the guardian ad litem will meet with the allegedly incapacitated person, inform that person of his or her legal rights, and report back to the court on the person's wishes. The guardian ad litem may also speak to the petitioner, to health care providers, and to other interested individuals in order to provide the court with full information about the allegedly incapacitated person's condition and prognosis. Depending upon state law, the court may appoint a doctor or professional to examine the allegedly incapacitated person.

c)      If the allegedly incapacitated person contests the appointment of a guardian, a trial is scheduled during which sworn testimony will be given, and at the conclusion of which the judge will decide if the petitioner met the requisite burden of proof for the appointment of a guardian.

d)      The allegedly incapacitated person is ordinarily entitled to appointed counsel, if unable to afford a private attorney.

e)      If the allegedly incapacitated person consents to the petition, or is unable to respond to inquiries due to disability, the court will hold a hearing at which witnesses will provide sworn testimony to support the allegations in the petition. If the evidentiary basis is deemed sufficient, the guardian will be appointed.

f)      If a conservator is appointed, the judge will issue the conservator legal documents (often called "letters of authority") permitting the conservator to act on behalf of the legally incapacitated person.

A conservator will ordinarily receive compensation, subject to court oversight, for performing duties for the estate. This is often charged on an hourly basis, and is ordinarily paid from the estate of the legally incapacitated person.

4.      What Are a Conservator’s Duties?

The first duty a conservator has is to take an inventory of the legally incapacitated person's assets, and to report those assets to the court.

If the conservator will be paying money on behalf of the legally incapacitated person, it will be necessary to open a special checking account reflecting the conservatorship (e.g., in the name of "John Doe, as Conservator for the Estate of Jane Smith"). Courts often require that the checking account return the actual physical checks after they are processed, and that those cancelled checks be maintained as part of the conservator's records.

The conservator will be responsible to account for all expenditures, and for the assets of the estate, typically on an annual basis or more frequently if ordered by the court.

If the legally incapacitated person has assets that must be maintained, or which are not in use, the conservator may seek court permission to rent or sell those assets. For example, if the legally incapacitated person has a home but will never be able to return home due to illness or disability, it may be wise to sell the home. If the legally incapacitated person is expected to return home, but not for an extended period of time, it will be necessary to maintain the home, and in some circumstances may be appropriate to rent the home during the period when the legally incapacitated person is absent. Similarly, rather than leaving a motor vehicle parked in a garage for years, it may be in the best interest of the legally incapacitated person to sell the vehicle before further depreciation or deterioration from non-use.

If the legally incapacitated person is capable of participating in financial decisions, the conservator is ordinarily required to permit the legally incapacitated person to participate to the extent he or she is able. In some circumstances, a court may appoint a conservator to perform a certain set of tasks which are beyond the ability of the legally incapacitated person, while permitting that person to manage his or her own affairs for other financial tasks which remain within his or her ability.

A conservator is typically required to post a bond, unless the requirement is waived by the court. In most jurisdictions where bond is required, waivers are common.

5.      When should the Public Guardian be Conservator?

The Court can sometimes appoint the Public Guardian as conservator. This usually happens when someone makes a referral. Referrals can be made by:

  • Adult Protective Services (APS)
  • A relative,
  • A neighbor,
  • A doctor,
  • A police officer,
  • The Court, or
  • Another interested person.

6.      What is the Purpose of Court Supervision?

The court supervises the conservator's actions by requiring that permission be obtained in advance of certain major transactions (such as the sale of a legally incapacitated person's home), and through annual accountings, in order to ensure that the legally incapacitated person's assets are being properly managed, bills are being paid, nobody is misappropriating funds, and the estate is not being wasted.

7.      How Can a Conservatorship Be Ended?

A conservatorship can be terminated by the court which created it. This ordinarily happens if the legally incapacitated person recovers from the incapacity that necessitated the conservatorship. A particular conservator's role may be terminated by the court or by resignation, in which case the court will ordinarily appoint a successor conservator to take over management of the legally incapacitated person's assets. A conservatorship also ends upon the death of the legally incapacitated person.

8.      How Can I Avoid a Conservatorship?

It is possible to avoid the necessity of a conservatorship through estate planning. A good estate plan will include a general durable power of attorney to permit a trusted individual to manage your personal affairs in the event of your incapacity. You may also create a more limited power of attorney, which protects your assets in the manner you desire rather than leaving their management to the discretion of a conservator or court. In most cases, when this document has been executed in accord with the laws of your state, it will not be necessary for your loved ones to seek the appointment of a conservator should something happen to you.
You may also choose to place your assets into a living trust, such that they are automatically under the management of a designated trustee in the event that you become disabled.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

POWER OF ATTORNEY

A “power of attorney” is a legal instrument which grants another person the authority to act as your legal representative, and to make binding legal and financial decisions on your behalf.

While it is not particularly difficult to find power of attorney forms on the Internet, there is usually little to no accompanying explanation of what a power of attorney is, when you need one, or what type to choose. Given that the power of attorney can grant considerable power to a third party to act on your behalf and sign your name to legal contracts, you should give careful consideration to the person whom you choose to grant as power of attorney. More importantly, the scope of power and whether time limits should be imposed

Also, it may be necessary to designate someone (your agent or attorneys-in-fact) to make medical decisions for you. This is known as an Advanced Health Care Directive, which is essentially a power of attorney for health care matters.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

WRONGFUL DEATH

Generally speaking, a wrongful death is a death caused by another's negligence, recklessness, malpractice, or inaction. Examples include, a pedestrian killed by a drunk driver, a woman murdered by her ex-husband, and a child struck and killed by a careless teenage motorists.

In such cases, the families of the deceased can file wrongful death personal injury lawsuits on their loved ones' behalves. These civil lawsuits, which do not bear any criminal charges, help families recover damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, mental anguish, loss of companionship, medical costs, and other expenses. If you have lost a loved one to wrongful death, you may be eligible for damages.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

ESTATE PLANNING

Estate planning has several purposes, which include transferring your wealth to your heirs in the manner of your choosing, such as: Planning for Taxation, Providing for the future care and needs of your children, and Planning for business succession. Listed below are some frequently asked questions about estate planning. . .

 

 

 

1.      What is the Purpose of Estate Planning? Estate planning has several purposes, which include

  • Having your wealth transferred to your heirs in the manner of your choosing;
  • Planning for Taxation;
  • Providing for the future care and needs of your children; and
  • Planning for business succession.

Most estate plans are structured around either a will or a trust, or a combination of the two.

Many people avoid proper estate planning because they do not like thinking about death. Estate Planning is generally considered the process by which people develop a plan that ensures that the assets they have worked so hard accumulating during their lifetime are protected and distributed to those they love. Without proper estate planning, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stands to inherit a large portion of your assets. Fortunately, it's not too late to write the IRS out of your will. We can help you implement a variety of advanced tax strategies to keep your assets out of the hands of the IRS. Our firm handles a variety of estate planning matters and advises our clients so as to gain the maximum benefit of all laws while, at the same time, carrying out the person's wishes.

2.      What Is Estate Planning and Why Do You Need It?

Estate Planning is the process whereby a person develops a plan and prepares documents to conserve, protect, and distribute estate assets before and after death for the benefit of loved ones and charities, taking into consideration the effect of state and federal tax and administrative laws and regulations. It can also involve planning for the use of your assets for your care if you become unable to manage your affairs during your lifetime.

If you own a home, have some savings, or own any goods such as a car or furniture, then you have an estate. Planning for the future will affect the financial security of those you love. If you don't plan for what happens to your estate upon your death, the government will make those decisions for you.

You should have an estate plan if:

  • you care about who inherits your property;
  • you care about your health care treatment;
  • you are the parent of minor or disabled children; and/or
  • you want to avoid the public proceedings of a possible guardianship and/or probate.

3.      What If You Don't Have A Will or Estate Plan? If you die in testate, there are laws of "in testate succession" which govern the distribution of your estate. In most states, this means that if you do not have an estate plan your assets will be distributed to your spouse and children, or if none, to other members of your family.

Even if you are young and have few assets, and thus have no real need for a detailed estate plan, it is wise to have a will. This becomes even truer if you marry, or have children. Please note that depending upon the laws of the jurisdiction where you live, your will may become fully or partially invalid upon certain major life events such as divorce or the birth of a child.

Also, most estate plans now include power of attorney forms, which provide for people to attend to your financial and medical needs in the event that you become incapacitated. If you do not execute powers of attorney prior to becoming disabled by accident or illness, it may be necessary for your loved ones to go to court to get permission to manage your finances and health care.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

REAL ESTATE BANKRUPTCY

Bankruptcy is a legal status of a person or entity that cannot repay the debts it owes to creditors. Bankruptcy takes on many forms. If you have any questions about bankruptcy please explore the links below or call our office.

Free Bankruptcy Evaluation

Second Start AttorneysBankruptcy Attorneys filling Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Annual Credit Report.com Obtain a free copy of your Credit Report.

Michigan Bankruptcy Lawyer Jamie Ryke Jamie Ryke Bankruptcy Attorney

Michigan Bankruptcy Lawyers www.savedme.com

CUS Bankruptcy Code Cornell University Bankruptcy Law Library

Chapter 13 Trustee-Carroll Detroit Chapter 13 Trustee Krispen S. Carroll

Chapter 13 Trustee- Ruskin Detroit Chapter 13 Trustee David Wm. Ruskin

American Bankruptcy Institute American Bankruptcy Institute Home Page

Legal Information Free downloads and self help legal information

Legal DefinitionsBernstein's Dictionary of Bankruptcy Terminology

NACBANational Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys

Experian Credit ReportsRequest Credit Information from Experian

www.Bestcase.com Bankruptcy software I recommend for Bankruptcy Lawyers

www.Michigan-Attorney-Lawyers.com Michigan Bankruptcy Attorneys

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

FOR ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: (248) 945-1111

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS/ANNUITY PURCHASES

You have already won your settlement, but you'd like to collect now instead of those small periodic payments. Now you can collect it all in one LUMP SUM of CASH.

Many times in the judicial process of litigation claim, parties agree to a structured settlement which pays them an annuity. While that type of settlement may have seemed very satisfactory at the time, financial needs have a way of changing and so are your desires.

Settlement payments can be structured as monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payments as well as lump sum payments. Most structured settlements are created to benefit the insurance company and not you.

Something like a medical emergency, your kids going to college, a divorce, or an estate settlement or maybe it’s just a good business or investment opportunity. Suddenly you need or wish you had an immediate access to your funds.

In the past it was almost impossible to get an advance of your funds. Fortunately, that is no longer the case.

Requested Documents: Structured Settlements

  1. Completed copy of application
  2. The Annuity Policy
  3. he Extended Release/Settlement Agreement
  4. A copy of your most recent Annuity Check or Check Stub (If direct deposit, attach copy of bank statement showing deposit)
  5. A copy of front page of most recent Tax Return
  6. Copies of two forms of identification (one must be clear photo I.D.)
  7. A copy of Marriage License (if applicable)
  8. A copy of Divorce Decree(s)/and property settlement(s) (if applicable)
  9. A copy of Will and Probate Papers if you are receiving payments as the result of a probated estate
  10. A copy of the Court Judgment (if applicable)
  11. Copies of Assignments, Revisions, or other important papers related to the Annuity or Settlement Agreement, and Bankruptcy discharge papers (if applicable)

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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