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

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

Business Law Update: Are You Aware of the New Cottage Food Law?

Posted By Heidi Hendrick on April 7, 2011

In July of 2010, Michigan became the 18th state to adopt a Cottage Food law, which allows individuals to manufacture and store certain types of foods in an unlicensed home kitchen.  Six other states are currently considering cottage food laws, with bills introduced within the last two months. This law brings new hope for entrepreneurs in a tough economy that may not have the start-up capital to purchase their own industrial kitchen, but have the culinary acumen to make money from their modest homes.  However, critics cite the risks involved, including different labeling requirements than for products sold in grocery stores, less regulation of the product itself, and because home kitchens are not inspected, there may be an

Commercial Leases: What Landlords and Tenants Should Know

Posted By Heidi Hendrick on January 25, 2011

Previously, I wrote about the process for a landlord to evict a residential tenant.  (See: Real Estate Primer for Landlords:  Your Tenant Stops Paying) While the process for evicting a commercial tenant is the same as in a residential setting, the requirements for the lease itself differ greatly.  The parties to a residential lease are governed by strict statutory and common law requirements, while parties to a commercial lease are accorded broad latitude in defining their rights and obligations.  For instance, the Truth in Renting Act and the Landlord and Tenant Relationship Act, which govern the particular duties, rights, and obligations arising between residential landlords and tenants, do not apply to an office lease.  In this

UNINFORMED NEWS REPORT: ELIZABETH EDWARDS CUT JOHN OUT OF WILL

Posted By Robert Miller on January 7, 2011

All of the major news providers (USA Today, CNN.com, Huffingtonpost.com, etc.) reported that Elizabeth’s will has been made public and she has cut her estranged husband, former vice presidential candidate John Edwards, out of her will. Indeed the will, which was recorded on December 22, 2010, has been made public. What is newsworthy here is that when a person dies, the original will must be filed in the county in which the person resided at the time death. In Michigan, it is a misdemeanor if you possess an original will and fail to record it. Once recorded the will becomes public record. It is important to understand that the only thing that is public record under a proper estate plan is the will. In a properly prepared estate

Michigan Real Estate Law: Property Tax Appeals 101

Posted By Shinners & Cook on November 11, 2010

Never in the history of the State have we experienced such dramatic reductions in real estate property values; the year-to-year declines in property values since 2007 are unprecedented.  Residents of Saginaw, Bay City, Midland, and surrounding communities have experienced significant declines in property values. As a result of the recession, municipalities and assessors are placed in a unique and unfamiliar position.  Rather than raising assessments and property taxes to correspond with historical increases in property values, assessors must now find a way to fairly and accurately decrease assessments.  These changes in the real estate market require a change in the way municipal assessors conduct business. Many homeowners

REAL ESTATE PRIMER FOR LANDLORDS: YOUR TENANT STOPS PAYING?

Posted By Heidi Hendrick on September 9, 2010

The most common issue that arises for a landlord is when a tenant, for whatever reason, stops paying rent. The reasons for non-payment may range from simply forgetting to pay rent a particular month, to unexpected financial difficulty, to not being able to afford the dwelling in the first place.  But, in the end, when rent goes unpaid paid, the reasons why may be unimportant. The first step in the process is to attempt contacting the tenant as soon as the rent is late. Do not let weeks or months go by before taking action. If the tenant simply forgot to pay, you, the landlord, may be able to resolve the issue with a phone call as opposed to instituting a Summary Proceeding, otherwise known as the formal eviction