Carrier Law has been serving families in West Michigan for over 30 years. We’re focused on helping our clients preserve what they own to protect what they value.

Our relationship manager can visit you to discuss how to:

  • Guide your clients in selecting legal tools to protect their kids and family
  • Protect your clients’ financial portfolio
  • Know when & how to update estate documents
  • Plan for long-term (and comfortable) care

Contact us today!

Amanda Hathaway, Carrier Law Relationship Manager

Call (616) 361-8400 or contact

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Carrier Law has been serving families in West Michigan for over 30 years. We’re focused on helping our clients preserve what they own to protect what they value.

In this one-hour workshop, your employees will learn how to:

  • Understand the various legal tools available, and how to effectively use them to protect their life savings
  • Protect their kids and family by developing a sound will & trust
  • Know when & how to update estate documents

Schedule your on-site workshop today!

Presented by Mark Baugh, Carrier Law LifePlan™ Advocate

Call (616) 361-8400 or contact

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What is Informal Probate and Why Does it Matter? Download our guide that will walk you through how to understand the process and how our Probate Lawyers at Carrier Law can help.

Michigan Probate Guide


Estate Planning Checklist | Law Offices of David L. Carrier

Contact the Law Offices of David L. Carrier to get started on your estate planning checklist today! Call (616) 361-8400.

Once you’ve created an estate plan, it’s important that you maintain it. For example, there might be additional beneficiaries that you want to add to your will or people that you want to take out of it. Remember, if you don’t keep your will up-to-date then your wishes might not be carried out.

Different Types of Wills


There are several different types of wills that are legal in Michigan. A holographic will is entirely handwritten by the testator (the creator of the will). It must be signed and dated by the testator.

A self-proving will must be signed by the testator and two witnesses in front of an officer authorized to administer oaths under Michigan law. The witnesses must provide sworn statements.

To create a statutory will, all you need to do is fill out a form. However, you’re limited to the options included on the form. There is no room for creativity, and if you add anything not included on the form then your entire will might be deemed invalid.

We recommend that you contact an experienced estate planning attorney to help you create a formal will that will express your exact wishes and comply with Michigan law.

Why Might I Need to Update My Will?

Life happens, and after you’ve created your will, you might need to make changes. There are various reasons you might update your will, including:

  • You’ve purchased additional property;
  • The value of your current property has increased;
  • A new child was born into your family and you need to add a beneficiary;
  • You’ve adopted a child and need to add a beneficiary;
  • One of your family members died and you need to remove a beneficiary;
  • You’ve decided to remove a beneficiary for other reasons;
  • You’ve remarried or divorced and need to update your beneficiaries; and
  • You want to name a different executor (also known as a personal representative).

How Can I Amend My Will?

A will does not take effect until you die, which means you can modify it at any time without any legal consequences. There are two different ways to change your will:

  1. Start over and write a new will. Be sure to include: “I revoke any prior wills and codicils” at the top. We also recommend destroying the original will and any copies that were made.
  2. You can change your will by adding a codicil (an amendment). A codicil is similar to a will but it changes only certain parts. For example, if you adopted a child and want to add her as a beneficiary you could include that bequest in a codicil, which will then be attached to the will.

Do NOT make changes directly on the will by crossing through certain sections or adding comments in the margin. Doing so might invalidate your entire will.

Contact Experienced Michigan Estate Planning Lawyers Today

Contact our experienced Norton Shores estate planning lawyers today if you need to create a will or make changes to a will that you’ve already created. We will ensure that your will expresses your wishes and complies with Michigan law.

While anyone can fall prey to a scam, many con artists choose to focus their attention on the elderly. Michigan seniors may find themselves the target of any number of scams involving Medicare, insurance, and estate planning. It is important to recognize the signs of a potential scam so you (or a loved one) can avoid becoming just another victim.

Identity Theft


According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 1.9 million Michigan seniors are enrolled in Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older. A popular scam involves a person claiming to work for the government contacting a Medicare recipient and telling them they “need a new Medicare card.” The scammer solicits the victim’s Medicare and Social Security numbers and then uses that information to commit identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission, which identifies and prosecutes such scams, advises all seniors to stop and contact Medicare directly (1-800-MEDICARE) before giving out any personal information over the phone.

Medicare Billing Fraud

Another common Medicare scam involves nursing homes and other health care providers. Since Medicare reimbursements are based on procedures performed, many providers treat older patients as a license to print money by ordering tests, equipment, and even surgical procedures that are medically unnecessary. Federal prosecutors have identified billions of dollars in Medicare fraud over the years as the result of such procedures.

If you have an elderly relative in nursing or long-term hospital care, it is a good idea to keep records of every procedure performed and the provider’s justification. Also, do not hesitate to ask questions if you suspect a provider is ordering unnecessary procedures. Such actions may assist prosecutors and Medicare officials in identifying fraud.

Estate Planning Scams

The Michigan Attorney General’s office also cautions seniors about the perils of a popular estate planning scam involving annuities. An annuity is a financial product sold by an insurance company. The purchaser makes a lump-sum or periodic payment to the insurer in exchange for receiving future payments.

In theory, an annuity provides a senior with a reliable income stream. But in practice, annuities are not suitable for all investors. There may be significant hidden costs and tax penalties depending on the structure of the annuity. The annuity’s benefits may also not be fully realized for many years, which makes it a poor option for a senior who requires a more liquid investment strategy.

Unfortunately, since annuities are usually sold by brokers working on commission, they may not take your individual needs into account, even though the law requires them to do so. Rather than serve the client, they serve themselves by convincing a senior to sell their existing assets and put everything into a riskier annuity. Some annuity brokers go so far as to sell their products as a form of estate planning, even though they are not attorneys licensed to practice in Michigan.

The best way to avoid such scams is to work with a qualified Michigan elder law attorney who will give you independent advice based on your unique situation. Contact the Law Offices of David L. Carrier, P.C., to schedule a consultation today.

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