Wills, Trusts, Business, Real Estate, and Probate Blog
What's new in estate planning, business, and real estate law.
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
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
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
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
The Michigan legislature finally passed a law that makes good sense. You may not know this, but prior to March 29, 2016, Michigan citizens did not have a say over who would make funeral and burial decisions for them upon their deaths. Instead the law provided that your next of kin in a state-dictated order of priority had the right to dictate these decisions without regard to any input or instruction from you on what you would want or would not want. Meaning in Michigan you literally had no control over what happened to your body upon your death. So as it stood the status quo in Michigan was that you could decide who you trust to make medical and financial decisions for you, if you were incapacitated, and to distribute your