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

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

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,

New Periodic Garnishment Legislation

Posted By Scot Putzig on June 17, 2015

Governor Rick Snyder recently signed into law Public Act 14 of 2015 with important changes to Michigan periodic garnishments, effective immediately. Periodic garnishments now remain in effect until the judgment balance is satisfied, rather than expiring every six months. Fees to employers increase from $6 to $35 per periodic garnishment. In addition, every six months plaintiffs must provide a statement of remaining balance, interest, and costs for the periodic garnishment and must issue a written release of garnishment after the judgment balance is satisfied. Significantly, the new legislation creates employer limited liability in the event of a default. A “default” means that the employer fails to file a disclosure, fails to

Landlords & Tenants: The Deadly Consequences of Self Help Eviction

Posted By Kelli King-Penner on March 17, 2015

What is Self-Help? A self-help eviction is where a landlord takes actions to evict a tenant without first obtaining a court order allowing the eviction.  Examples of self-help eviction include changing locks, removing a tenant’s possessions, and boarding up the premises.  Self-help is prohibited under Michigan law and a landlord engaging in self-help evictions can be sued for wrongful eviction.  MCL 600.2918(1)-(2) and Deroshia v Union Terminal Piers, 151 Mich App 715 (1986). Self-help evictions are not only illegal, not following the proper eviction steps may even prove deadly.  The Detroit Free Press highlighted the dangers this past Thanksgiving when two people were shot and killed during a self-help residential eviction

Buying or Selling Real Estate: Think Beyond the Form

Posted By Kelli King-Penner on November 5, 2014

Thinking about buying a home?  Or perhaps you’re in the market for a new residence and are planning on selling your current home? Your home is one of the biggest purchases or sales you make in your lifetime.  However, when either buying or selling this asset, many resort to using pre-printed purchase agreements provided by their real estate agent or broker believing they can avoid the expense of an attorney or expecting that the transaction is a “simple” deal.  While this method may save money and time in the short run, the potential long term consequences could be costly. A Purchase Agreement is a legal contract containing the terms and conditions of the sale and purchase of real property.  It is the roadmap for completing