Wills, Trusts, Business, Real Estate, and Probate Blog

What's new in estate planning, business, and real estate law.

Does My Business Need to Protect Its Intellectual Property?

Posted By Scot Putzig on March 21, 2017

Whether your business is retail, service, industrial, or otherwise, its logos, names, products, customers, and business practices may be worth protecting from competitors and former employees.  Whether you have a successful business or are just starting out, every business needs to determine what its intellectual property is and whether it is valuable enough to protect. There are four basic kinds of intellectual property which a business can protect:  trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and patents.  Intellectual property can be one of a business’s most valuable assets, and should be protected ferociously.  Think of the formula for Coke, the “11 herbs and spices” of KFC, or even the name of your business.  How would you feel

Goodbye, Dower! Hello, Equality!

Posted By Kelli King-Penner on January 17, 2017

Recently the Michigan Legislature took a huge step towards furthering the equal treatment of its residents and their real property interests by eliminating an archaic and unnecessary law treating men and women unequally.  On January 5, 2016, Governor Snyder signed a series of bills that eliminated dower rights in Michigan.  Now, I’m sure most of you reading this have two questions: What is Dower? How does this affect Michigan residents, including those in the Saginaw, Midland, and Bay county areas, like me? Fear not readers and allow me to explain why this new law is a win for equal treatment and a step in the right direction for Michigan residents like you. What is Dower? Dower is a married woman’s right to a

New Department of Labor Overtime Pay Rules Put on Hold

Posted By Scot Putzig on December 2, 2016

On Tuesday, November 22nd, a United States District Judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Labor’s new overtime rules nationwide.  This essentially places a hold on the new rules, which were set to take effect on December 1st.  The blocked rule, issued by the Department of Labor, would have doubled to $47,476 the minimum salary an employee can earn and still be exempt from mandatory overtime pay. The Federal Judge agreed with the Plaintiffs, a group of 21 State Attorney generals and a wide-ranging coalition of businesses, that the Fair Labor Standards Act does not grant the Department of Labor the authority to utilize a salary-level test or an automatic updating mechanism without new

Medicaid Estate Recovery Expands to Non-Probate Assets

Posted By Kelli King-Penner on November 10, 2016

Recently, the State of Michigan quietly made a change to the State Medicaid Plan.  If you or a loved one are currently receiving, or will need Medicaid benefits in the future, this seemingly minor change greatly impacts Michigan residents, including those in Bay, Midland, and Saginaw counties. In 2011, Michigan implemented its “Estate Recovery Program,” in which the State seeks reimbursement against the probate estates of deceased Medicaid recipients for healthcare benefits received during the recipients’ lives.  While the State can defer Estate Recovery in the event of a surviving spouse or dependent child, the State has increasingly made claims against a Medicaid recipient’s estate. For nearly five years, Estate Recovery

For Estate Planning Purposes, Can a Blind Person Properly Execute a Will or Trust?

Posted By Robert Miller on August 18, 2016

I was reading a blog and a question was posed: is a Will valid if it was executed by a blind person? While that struck me as a silly question at first, upon reflection I realized it wasn’t a silly question after all, and it is one that many individuals might ask.  The short answer is, of course it is valid.  There are several reasons why a person could not properly execute a Will or Trust; nevertheless, whether or not a testator (the individual who has made the will) is blind or deaf are not included within the reasons that would invalidate a Will or Trust. Wills: As you know, in my previous blog, I noted that a Will is essentially a letter to the judge that provides several things in Michigan, including: the appointment of