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

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

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

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

Prince passed with no Will or Trust. How would his estate be probated in Michigan?

Posted By Robert Miller on May 5, 2016

When a person dies without disposing of their assets through a Will or Trust their possessions are called an “intestate estate”.  Michigan, like Prince’s home state of Minnesota, has a statute which provides guidance on how to dispose of a person’s estate when there is no Will, Trust, or estate plan in place. If Prince died in Michigan it would be handled similar to Minnesota.  Because Prince had no surviving spouse, no surviving children, and no surviving parents his estate is divided between his parents’ children.  This would include his full siblings and half siblings. So how does this really work?  In Michigan, the answer to the intestate law’s have a step-by-step process depending on who survives. Surviving

Update: Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning for Digital Assets and Electronically Store Information

Posted By Robert Miller on April 21, 2016

About two weeks ago, our governor signed into law an act known as the “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act”.  This is in response to the uncertainty that surrounds the ownership of electronic information in such places as social media, Facebook, Flickr, Cloud, etc.  I commented on this issue in 2014 here and I am happy to say Michigan went further than what was being discussed two years ago. This law allows a fiduciary (someone acting on a behalf of and for the benefit of others) under a Power of Attorney, a Personal Representative (executor to a Will), a conservator, or a trustee to gain access to and control digital assets of the decedent/ward. It should be noted that a “fiduciary” is under the highest standard of care