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Home / Firm Blog / Estate Planning

Estate Planning

21
December
2015

Pet Trusts

MCL 700.2722 Honorary trusts; trusts for pets

Categories: Estate Planning

02
February
2015

Few Americans Have an Estate Plan

Studies show that only 30% of all Americans have a Last Will and Testament in place. Even less have set up a power of attorney or patient advocate designation. Why don't the vast majority of Americans have an Estate Plan? Studies show that about 20% of Americans mistakenly believe the ownership of their possessions will automatically transfer to their family when they pass away. About the same percentage of Americans just think establishing an estate plan is too expensive. The truth is that (i) without a proper estate plan your property may not automatically transfer to your loved ones...

Categories: Estate Planning

19
December
2013

Estate Planning for Baby Boomers

Originally published in WealthCounsel Newsletter July 2013

 

The boomers are coming! That’s the gist of the many reports and news stories that have been published in the last few years. It seems that every week there are at least a few new stories which predict the great changes that are coming as 5 million boomers turn 65 every year for the next 15 years. Many of the changes predicted are ones that will affect the economy, social structure, residential housing, recreational activities and delivery of health care services of a larger, older population. There’s not much doubt that boomers have different expectations about their “golden years” than their parents did.

Categories: Estate Planning

25
October
2013

Michael Jackson's Estate Battle

Michael Jackson's Estate Battle

Even in death, Michael Jackson remains controversial. Jackson's estate is still  battling with the IRS, almost five years after The King of Pop's death. Read an excerpt from the Forbes articles below:


"It’s possible that the legacy of Michael Jackson could turn out to be a string of court cases. He has kept lawyers and business managers happily employed since he died – and his tax lawyers are no exception. The estate for the King of Pop is planning to go to the mattress in the fight against the Internal Revenue Service over taxes and penalties assessed as a result of values reported on his federal estate tax return.

Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, in Los Angeles, California. The federal estate tax exemption amount was $3,500,000 for decedents dying in 2009. That means that estate assets in excess of that amount are taxed.

Categories: Estate Planning

24
October
2013

Estate Planning: Just Like Real Estate and Vacation

One question always asked at the seminars I give on living trusts and estate planning is:

“How much does ‘it’ cost?”

In a sense that question qualifies as an “oxymoron, meaning a phrase which is incongruous (not consistent with what is logical) and impossible to answer.

Let me illustrate.

Could anyone logically call a travel agent and expect to get an answer to the question:

“How much will ‘it’ cost for my family and me to take a vacation next year?” Calling a real estate broker and asking: “How much will a new house cost me?” Or, how about saying to a doctor who knows nothing about your history and who has never examined you: “Doc, I’m sick. I don‘t know how sick, or even what my options are, but how much will you charge to make me well?”

Categories: Estate Planning

17
October
2013

Meeting with Family Key to Estate Planning

You’ve made the hard decisions, your documents are signed, your trust is funded, a business succession plan is in place. Congratulations, you’ve finished your estate planning. But have you, really? Have you explained your planning to your family? Will they understand how your plan will work and what they may need to do if you become ill or when you die? Will they wonder why you made certain decisions?

Categories: Estate Planning

17
September
2013

Interesting Will Dispute Story in NY Times

Check out this recent New York Times article, exploring the dispute over an heiresses' $300 million dollar fortune. Does the family or the medical staff deserve the fortune?

Click the link below.

The New York Times--The Two Wills of the Heiress Huguette Clark

Categories: Estate Planning

01
August
2013

The Michigan Slayer Statute and Probate

Michigan slayer statute applies to voluntary manslaughter too. Interesting how this issue will appear from time to time! A few years local dentist going through a divorce was shot in the back of the head in a rough part of town – wife was person of interest but never charged and she received life insurance benefits because husband never changed beneficiary despite pending divorce.

Written by: Pat Gallagher Categories: Estate Planning

12
April
2013

Pierangeli, Riemland, and Slough appointed County Public Administrators

AppointmentOn April 1, 2013, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette appointed Scott Pierangeli, Jim Riemland, and Paul Slough to serve as public administrators.  Pierangeli will serve in Kalamazoo County, Riemland will serve in Berrien County, and Slough will serve inOtsego County.

Categories: Estate Planning

01
February
2013

Handwritten, unsigned notes valid to amend trust

Sign HereIn In Re: Stillwell Trust, a published Michigan Court of Appeals opinion, the court discussed two issues: whether hand-written notes constituted a valid amendment to the trust, and whether a child adopted after the settlor passed away was a grandchild-beneficiary of the trust.  This case highlights the importance of being clear in your directives and following the methods in your estate planning documents for amending your wishes.  Stillwell clearly expressed her intent for the distribution of the assets in the amendments.  If you need to amend your estate planning documents, contact Gallagher Law Firm attorney Craig Gerard.

Written by: Rebecca Stephen Categories: Estate Planning

28
December
2012

New law allows for trust decanting

DecanterGovernor Rick Snyder signed legislation allowing for the practice of trust decanting, meaning assets held by an irrevocable trust may be moved into a different trust, as long as the trust documents do not disallow it and the trustee has discretionary powers.

Categories: Estate Planning

19
December
2012

Treasure Hoard Found by Public Administrator in Nevada

Gold CoinsA Carson City, Nevada public administrator found about seven million dollars worth of assets, mostly gold, hiding in a decedent's modest home.  The public administrator was also able to locate a cousin to inherit the wealth.

Categories: Estate Planning

03
October
2012

Decedent's intent in naming account beneficiaries important even if bank protocol not followed

In an unpublished opinion dated October 2, 2012 in In re Estate of James D. Goodin, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the probate court order equally dividing the proceeds of a bank account. This case stresses the importance of reviewing the beneficiaries on each asset as part of a complete estate plan.  If you need help drafting or reviewing your estate plan, please contact Gallagher Law Firm attorney Craig Gerard.

Written by: Rebecca Stephen Categories: Case Summaries, Estate Planning