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News & Helpful Articles

Pensions and Estate Planning

For residents of Grand Rapids, Michigan who are thinking about estate planning and, in particular, are thinking about options concerning their pensions, it is important to understand how estate planning is connection to decisions about your pension. First, what is a pension? Is this something you need to add into your will? And can you have more than one beneficiary for your pension? These are some of the common questions we receive, and we will...

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What Happens to Assets Not Included in Your Trust?

Many people create a will or a trust prior to their death, both of which can be used to leave assets and property to beneficiaries upon the creator’s death. While most people have the foresight to include all of their property within a trust or a will, it is not uncommon for certain assets to be left out, either intentionally or accidentally. The following considers what happens to assets that are not included in your...

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What Happens to Your Michigan Business After You Die?

For business owners in Michigan, planning for their business’ future after their death is an important consideration. This article will consider what happens to a Michigan business after its owner’s death, the process of transferring a business, what happens when a business is not transferred to someone, and how an experienced estate planning attorney can aid throughout the process. Transferring Ownership of a Business Upon Death It is possible to transfer the ownership of a business...

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How to Protect Your Assets in Michigan

Asset protection is an important consideration for many individuals, particularly high net worth individuals and owners of businesses. However, asset protection is not limited to the wealthy alone; asset protection can be used for myriad things, including protecting your assets from any future lawsuits, ensuring that your assets are distributed quickly to your loved ones and beneficiaries upon your death, avoiding taxes and probate, planning for long-term care to reduce asset expenditures, and more. If...

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How to Plan for a Medicaid Crisis

Nobody wants to face a Medicaid crisis in which an elderly loved one unexpectedly requires expensive, long-term care but is ineligible for government assistance. However, all too often, residents of Grand Rapids suddenly require nursing home care and are told that they have too many assets and thus cannot qualify for Medicaid. As a fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains, Medicaid provides free or low-cost healthcare for a...

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When Should You Get Life Insurance?

Almost inevitably, there are final expenses to pay and accounts to settle when a loved one dies. So, life insurance is an integral part of an estate plan, because it gives the personal representative funds to deal with these items. Certain kinds of life insurance benefits the purchasers during their lifetimes as well, because they build equity that can be tapped or borrowed against. Quite frankly, there is little need for life insurance if one...

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Planning For Your Pets After You Die

A New York woman made headlines about a year ago when she revised her will to leave $1 million to her Maltese terrier. When 60-year-old Rose Ann Bolasny dies, Bella Mia will inherit a vacation home, a trust fund, and jewelry. The dog, whom Ms. Bolasny says is a “gift from God,” already has a $100,000 yearly allowance for grooming, meals, shopping sprees, and other items. She says she discussed changing her will with her two...

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Leaving Your Inheritance To Minors

Legally, minors cannot own property or make contracts, and that may be the best reason to partner with an experienced trust attorney regarding such vehicles for minor inheritance. There are some other reasons as well, because settlors (people who make trusts) may want to create incentive for a certain event, such as graduating from college, or they may have concerns that younger heirs are less able to make sound financial decisions. Michigan law recognizes several...

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Different Kinds of Michigan Trusts

A “trust” is something you might associate with wealthy socialite families. But trusts are actually a common Michigan estate planning device used by individuals from all social and economic backgrounds. There are, in fact, many different kinds of trusts that may be helpful to your own estate planning depending on the needs of you and your family. Revocable Trusts The most common type of estate planning trust is an “inter vivos” or revocable living trust. This is...

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What You Need to Know About Taxes and Estate Planning

Benjamin Franklin is often credited with coining the expression that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Indeed, the former does not necessarily end the latter. Even after death, the federal government may assess certain taxes against a deceased individual’s property—but proper estate planning can reduce or eliminate many of these obligations. What Is the Estate Tax? You have probably heard the phrase “estate tax” (or the more politically charged...

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