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Today, April 16, 2019, our firm, along with other national, state and community organizations, is taking part in a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making — an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16th as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).  We have been supporting our clients’ healthcare wishes for more than ten years by providing comprehensive estate plans that include the healthcare directives that clients need in a medical emergency. These documents can...

After we now have passed Chinese New Year, it’s a great time to check in with yourself on how you are doing with your New Year’s resolutions. You would not be alone if you haven’t stuck with them as much as you would have liked to – studies have shown most individuals don’t keep their resolutions for the entire year, and some don’t make it past the beginning of February.  But before you say, “well there’s always next year” you can...

Do you own property as joint tenants? Have you considered the planning pitfalls of this way of owning property? Ownership as joint tenants is so pervasive in our society that we don’t look at its downsides. In joint tenancy, each person owns the entire asset, not a part of the asset. This legal fiction of two or more people owning 100 percent of the same asset is derived from the full name given to joint tenancy: joint tenancy with right of...

Blended families by nature bring more people to the table.  The following are only a few of the big challenges we face when planning for a blended family. Your Ex-Spouse A major concern for most divorces is the need to disinherit your ex-spouse. While married to your ex-spouse, you most like designated him/her as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, a pension plan, 401(K) plan, or similar retirement plan, which was provided by your employer.  If you fail to update your beneficiaries...

Many parents purchase life insurance, sign a will, or prepare a trust to ensure the well-being of their children. The majority of life insurance proceeds are left outright to children and other beneficiaries without a single word of instruction. This kind of planning is a travesty. Minor children cannot own property. Leaving life insurance proceeds or any other kind of property to minors is futile. Doing so leaves it directly to the probate court, under whose direction it will stay for...

A recent article published on wealthmanagement.com[1] focuses on the importance of making final arrangements prior to death. The article highlights famous cases of Anna Nicole Smith, Ted Williams, and Mickey Rooney.  In each, the families fought over the deceased burial wishes. In Michigan, a recently updated law (MCL 700.1104 et al.) allows a person to designate a funeral representative who would have the right and power to make decisions about funeral arrangements and the handling, disposition, or disinterment of the person’s...