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

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

Digital Assets: Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning in the Age of Facebook, Twitter, and Cell Phones that are Minicomputers

Posted By Robert Miller on July 14, 2014

There have been many articles written, and will be many articles written, regarding estate planning in the age of digital assets.  Even the meaning of “digital assets” is being defined as we speak.  Just because this area of law is still being defined and developed is no reason why your current Wills, Trusts, and estate plans should not attempt to deal with this.  As a matter of fact, because of the uncertainty surrounding digital assets, it is most important that your current estate plan actually does deal with these concepts.  In a recent case where the Supreme Court of The United States acknowledged the personal, intimate nature of a Smartphone by indicating that a police officer needs a warrant to search a Smartphone, Chief

Michigan Real Estate Law: Should I Appeal My Property Tax Assessment?

Posted By Scot Putzig on February 18, 2014

Time is of the Essence: Now is the time to decide whether to appeal your current residential or industrial/commercial property tax assessment. When you receive your assessment notice for your home or business, should you discuss it with a real estate attorney? If you own industrial/commercial property, the deadline for filing an appeal with the Michigan Tax Tribunal is during the summer. However, if you own residential property, your first step is the local taxing authority’s board of review held annually in March. In addition, appeal assessments in Grand Rapids or Detroit require you to participate in an assessor’s review prior to appealing to your local board of review. It is important to plan ahead to avoid running afoul

Northwestern College Football Players File Suit for Unionization Rights

Posted By Scot Putzig on February 13, 2014

Although Seattle won the Super Bowl and Florida State is the new college football national champion, the college football players at Northwestern University continue playing, but this time on a different field - the courtroom. On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, with support from the Steelworkers Union, a majority of Northwestern college football players appealed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for unionization rights as “employees” of Northwestern University. The players claim that Northwestern University, and the N.C.A.A. as a whole, have used the concepts of amateurism and the “student-athlete” to avoid having to share revenues from ever-increasing TV contracts. Players seek to compel universities to provide long-term

Protecting your business’s name, logo, or tag line

Posted By Andrea Raymond on November 20, 2013

You can protect your business’s name, logo, or tag line by having Shinners & Cook file an application for a Federal Trademark or Services Mark (“Mark”) through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. You can register a name, “doing business as” name, logo, combination of a logo and a name, or a tag line or phrase that you plan to use. Registering a name, logo, or tag line keeps others from using that name, logo, or tag line and keeps consumers from being confused between your name and another company’s name. Before Shinners & Cook files an application, we first make sure that no one else has registered a name, logo, or tag line that is similar to yours. Once your Mark is registered, no one else can be approved by

Fake state forms sent via regular mail

Posted By Tom Basil on August 1, 2013

We are all used to receiving emails from Nigerian princes trying to flee an oppressive regime or winning an online lottery we never entered, both promising millions of dollars in money if we just provide our bank account information and our social security number.  We learned to ignore them.  The powers of numbers associated with the internet allow millions of emails to be sent out at relatively little cost, with the potential for big results in the form of your entire bank balance. But now a Lansing based company is trying the opposite approach.  Send out thousands of forms by regular mail in hopes of getting just $125 each from unsuspecting victims; companies not paying too close attention to what appears to be just another