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May 2012 Archives

Lawyer sues Michigan judge and two lawyers over Rosa Parks estate

A lawyer is accusing a Michigan judge and two other probate lawyers of conspiracy in attempting to bilk civil rights icon Rosa Parks' estate out of $507,000 in legal fees, according to court papers. Ms. Parks' estate consists of several thousand pieces of civil rights memorabilia, including her personal papers, letters, photos, books, awards and, clothing, all of which has been valued at upwards of $10 million. The items have been sitting in an auctioneer's warehouse for months as the estate's probate litigation continues.

Supreme Court decision limits recovery for home buyers

Mortgage agreements are complex and difficult for many consumers to understand. Prospective buyers often rely on the expertise of their realtor and the advice of their mortgage company representative or banker to help them parse the language and terms of the agreement. Some homebuyers choose to be represented by an attorney in the negotiation and execution of a home purchase so that they have an expert that will advocate for their interests alone.

How Facebook insiders are using trusts to avoid estate taxes

Facebook is in the news for more than launching its first initial public offering these days, as one news article reports. We thought Michigan residents might be interesting in learning how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and several company insiders are using a legal tactic called a "grantor-retained annuity trust" to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in estate and gift taxes on their Facebook shares.

FTC warns timeshare owners of fraud risks

The Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC is warning anyone who owns a timeshare to expect a call from phony companies perpetrating a fraud. The scheme has become so widespread that the FTC says timeshare owners all over the country can expect to be approached and offered phony deals. These scams can have serious financial repercussions for owners of vacation properties who were relying on the profits from the sale to cover other expenses.

Important factors to consider before investing in real estate

With housing prices and interest rates at historically low levels, many Detroit residents consider this to be a good time to invest in real estate. However, just because a price seems low doesn't mean that the property will be a worthwhile investment, so prudent potential buyers should consider some of the following factors carefully before making a decision.

Michigan: Mother's Day gift idea, why not peace of mind - Part 2

As discussed in last week's post, if your parents do not yet have an estate plan in place consider discussing the possibilities during the month of May. According to the Alzheimer's Association, in the United States more women than men have the disease or some other form of dementia. So what better gift can you give your mother than the peace of mind she will have in knowing her and her family's future have been protected through estate planning, including a will, trust and powers of attorney?

Michigan: Mother's Day gift idea, why not peace of mind - Part 1

This Mother's Day, Michigan residents should consider a rather unorthodox, yet very important gift and that is the peace of mind that comes when you and your mother know the family will be taken care of when the inevitable occurs. Estate planning can be one of the most important gifts you give your family because it takes much of the guessing out of what you, and your mother's wishes are in the event either of you should become incapacitated and unable to make important financial and medical decisions on your own behalf.

Green features help attract Michigan home buyers

Even in the tough economy, Michigan families looking for a new home can still be quite choosey. One of the important features for many home buyers is how environmentally friendly a home is. Energy efficiency can save families large amounts of money over the course of owning a home.

Do you have to pay an inheritance tax on a joint tenancy?

Since many couples delay marriage, or simply do not marry at all, Massachusetts residents may wonder what happens when you own a home with another in a joint tenancy and one person listed on the title dies. One reader wanted to know if there was an inheritance tax in just that situation, so we thought others may be interested in the topic as well.

Factors to consider before buying a second home

While the economy is certainly not totally recovered, this might still be a good time for some Michigan residents to consider buying a second property. With low mortgage rates and plenty on the market to choose from, many people who can afford it are choosing to purchase a second home or vacation property.

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