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

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

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


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

Wills and Trusts: Congress’ Failure to Act Forces Estate Plan Reviews

Posted By Robert Miller on August 24, 2010

This past February, I did a blog discussing the fact that Congress has eight years to fix a problem, but suggested that it would be fixed sometime during 2010.  Well, it is now late August, and Congress has still not been able to deal with this problem leaving many taxpayers and families unsure of how to proceed, not to mention their estate planning attorneys.  The August 16, 2010, entry in The Wisconsin Law Journal may have summed this up the best: “It’s an old adage that the wheels of government spin slowly, but few attorneys would have predicted the glacial pace of estate tax reform in Congress, which has led to the repeal for the tax of 2010 and the potential reset of the tax next year to its highest level in a decade.” On

Anna Nicole Smith’s Oral Trust Claim Helps Her Estate’s Litigators Not Her Heirs

Posted By Robert Miller on June 2, 2010

The entire Anna Nicole Smith story regarding her claim to her elderly late husband’s estate began in 2007 with her claim her late husband made a oral will or trust granting her much of his wealth.  This saga continues with attorneys for her estate vowing to, again, go to the Supreme Court.  As was widely reported last month the fight is being carried on so Anna Nicole’s daughter can have an inheritance.  So far, she will have to work for a living as the court rejected the existence of an oral estate plan. This is a good time to ask yourself: “WHAT?”.   But it is worth space in this blog to examine this law and if it this type of lawsuit would even be possible in Michigan.   The short answer?  Yes, it is possible as Michigan

On Deathbed Actor Dennis Hopper is Encouraged to Divorce His Wife of 14 Years in an Estate Planning Dispute

Posted By Robert Miller on April 9, 2010

This is a will and trust story gone horribly wrong.  Sadly, the circumstance are not that uncommon.   Children from a previous marriage and a current wife battling over an estate.  The"Easy Rider" star, filed for divorce shortly after revealing he was battling cancer.  Victoria Hopper, his current wife, is alleging that children from a previous marriage are attempting to improve their position in the estate plan. The judge has ordered the fighting family members to play nice for the benefit of Victoria and Dennis’ seven year old daughter.   He also allowed the wife use of the house and support.   All of this heartache because, as Victoria alleges, other family members are tying to cut her out of the will. As horrible as