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Detroit Metro Area Legal Blog

You can take steps today to plan for your future medical care

It is impossible to know the future and predict what will happen even a month from now, yet there are steps you can take to have more control over your long-term interests. Michigan readers understand that one way to do this is by having a strong and thoughtful estate plan in place. As part of your estate plan, you may consider planning for your future medical care as well.

You may not know what type of medical care you will need in the future, but there are certain estate planning tools that will allow you to outline your wishes in case of incapacitation. This is possible through a health care power of attorney and other documents. Taking these steps can give you great confidence for the future.

When Can a House Be Sold in a Probate Estate?

People often ask if they need to wait until after a decedent's estate closes in order to sell the deceased loved one's house. This is a common misconception and nothing could be further from the truth. The sale process may be completed while the estate is open.

Do you believe an executor has breached fiduciary duty?

The loss of a loved one can have different effects on each person. You may feel a sense of acceptance and closure, or you could feel that you have unfinished business with the deceased that you may need to address somehow. In the latter case, some people may feel a continued sense of loyalty to their deceased loved ones, and as a result, they may feel particularly interested in ensuring that the final wishes of those individuals are honored.

In order to carry out the instructions of a will, a named executor or appointed personal representative must follow the proper legal steps to validate the will and begin the probate process. If your loved one named someone else as executor, you may want to trust that person to act in a trustworthy manner. However, you may have some concerns about his or her actions.

Is there a storm brewing over your property purchase?

When you purchase a piece of property, you want to make sure that no one can come knocking on your door saying they have a right to it. As part of the purchase process, your mortgage lender may have required you to obtain a title search before agreeing to give you any money. 

You may have wondered what this was but shrugged it off as just part of the deal. Then, you find out that someone else may actually have a legal claim to the property you want to buy. What do you do now?

Do you have reason to contest a loved one's will?

Legal issues could arise from a variety of circumstances. Even after a person has passed away, his or her estate could still face litigation if an issue with a will or other aspects comes about. As a surviving family member, you certainly want to ensure that everyone honors your loved one's final wishes in the manner he or she intended. If you have concerns about whether the information in the decedent's will reflects those intentions, you may wish to consider contesting the document.

In order to move forward with contesting a will, you must have the legal standing to do so. If you prove that you have standing, you must then have a legitimate reason for wanting to review the validity of the document.

Estate planning tips for new and expecting parents

Expecting parents and new parents frequently have many discussions about the futures of their children. It can be exciting to choose the name of a baby. Dreaming about high school graduation, college and the opportunities for the future are exciting times. There are other topics expecting parents and new parents struggle with. Potential changes to work schedules, managing and financing day care and adjusting the household budget to provide for a new child are common concerns.

Parents-to-be and parents of newborn children may understand the need to plan for the care of a child if both parents are involved in an accident or other tragedies arise that make it impossible for mom and dad to continue to raise the child. Unfortunately, estate planning is often an uncomfortable topic for people to address. Only 36 percent of parents of children younger than 18 have any estate planning documents in place, according to Wealth Management and Caring.com.

Should you just leave an inheritance to your special needs child?

Most Michigan parents who have special needs children work tirelessly to provide and care for their children. They often give up much of their lives and resources for their children without question or hesitation. If you are one of those parents, you may also want to ensure your child's continued support after your death.

However, you should think twice before leaving an inheritance directly to your child. Most special needs children receive, or could receive, much needed assistance through government agencies. Whether that support comes in the form of money or programs, he or she must meet certain qualifications in order to receive benefits. The value of your child's assets often comes into play, and exceeding a certain threshold could jeopardize your child's receipt of benefits.

Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents' Stuff

Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirlooms

By Richard Eisenberg

After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents - not even you or your kids.

Admittedly, that's an exaggeration. But it's not far off, due to changing tastes and homes. I'll explain why, and what you can do as a result, shortly.

The Stuff of Nightmares

So please forgive the morbidity, but if you're lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you'll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork and tchotchkes when the mournful time comes. (I wish I had. My sister and I, forced to act quickly to avoid owing an extra months' rent on dad's apartment, hired a hauler to cart away nearly everything we didn't want or wouldn't be donating, some of which he said he'd give to charity.)

Protecting Grandma - Institute of Gerontology tools to fight financial exploitation

By: Leslie Mertz

Will knew something was wrong as soon as he heard his mother's shaky message on his phone. When he got to her apartment, he found her sitting in a chair -- a lost look on her face and a bank statement in her lap. She blinked up at him and in a tiny voice said, "I'm sorry. Your father and I saved and saved, so we could leave something for you and your babies, and now it's all gone. I'm so ashamed."

Will started to go through her records, and saw that someone had repeatedly taken advantage of his mother's trusting nature and slightly slipping mental sharpness, and drained her bank account dry in just three short months. His mind started to spin: How far behind is she in her bills? How will she pay for her living expenses, let alone her medications? Will she have to move out of her house and into his? Can he afford that?

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