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

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

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

Estate Planning: Take Back Control of Your Body

Posted By Kelli King-Penner on April 6, 2016

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

New State of Michigan Corporation Online Filing System

Posted By Scot Putzig on January 26, 2016

The State of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs recently announced the creation of a new Corporation Online Filing System (Online System) to be completed in the Spring of 2016. The Online System modernizes the State of Michigan’s Business Filing Network for all Michigan corporations, partnerships, and LLCs. Currently, Michigan businesses must physically mail or fax business legal documents for filing with the State of Michigan. The new Online System is a comprehensive online filling system for Michigan businesses, including the following services: • Online form submission • Electronic notification for yearly reporting requirements • Online annual reports and statements • Online order systems • Name

Social Security, Estate Planning and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

Posted By Robert Miller on November 16, 2015

Social Security is a massive program codified in federal law that purports to give all Americans (yes, this includes Saginaw, Bay City, and Midland) minimal assistance.  Of late, some have feared that the financial security of our own Social Security system is in danger.  Congress, it seems, annually tinkers with Social Security and the latest attempt to help with Social Security’s financial security is the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015. As part of our estate planning advice, we commonly evaluate and discuss possible Social Security benefits with our clients.  A couple of important strategies that were in play have been removed in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 in the name of

Using Buy-Sell Agreements to Prevent Shareholder Lawsuits

Posted By Scot Putzig on November 10, 2015

Running a business is risky. One way to mitigate this risk for private companies is a Buy-Sell Agreement among the owners (also commonly called a Shareholder Agreement). Private companies often use Buy-Sell Agreements to protect owners’ interests in the company in the event of death, disability, retirement, or sale. These agreements are also often a cornerstone of any succession plan. However, many Michigan companies are unaware that Buy-Sell Agreements may also be used to avoid shareholder lawsuits. Minority oppression lawsuits can be destructive to private companies, family businesses, and small businesses. Both the Michigan Business Corporation Act, MCL 540.1489, and the Michigan Limited Liability Company Act, MCL 450.4515,