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May 2013 Archives

Neighborhood built on old landfill causing problems for residents

A story out of North Carolina this month is bringing up some interesting questions for residents here in Michigan. The problem stems around a neighborhood that was built on an old landfill. With the ground sinking because of decomposition, residents are wondering who is liable for damages to their homes and the possibility of health risks in the area.

Brookfield Township residents fight against county zoning laws

Residents in the town of Brooksfield Township are fighting back against Huron County this month in an attempt to stop the county from imposing zoning laws that the city does not want. And according to a lawsuit filed by the Brookfield Township Clerk Michael Lorencz, this is a battle that has been going since the beginning of the year now.

Estate planning for unmarried couples can be crucially important

Even though no one likes to think about planning for their death, it's still a vital part of life. Living wills, trusts and health proxies are all important items to have in place. However, in most states, challenges arise for couples who are not married, when it comes to making end of life arrangements.

Landlord files lawsuit against tenant over two-year construction

For landlords in Michigan, retaining your tenants is an important part of doing business. They can mean the difference between turning a profit and not making good on your investment. But what is a landlord to do about a tenant that is being a nuisance to other tenants in your building? Do you take action or risk seeing other tenants leave as a result?

Nowadays, assets aren't simply things you can hold in your hand

When people in Oakland County think about estate planning, more than likely, what comes to mind are physical assets: real estate -- including the family home -- cars, and household goods. Additionally, retirement accounts or stock portfolios are considered to be assets, and while you can't exactly hold the contents of your 401(k) in your hand, you could theoretically sell it and convert it to cash, which you could then literally put in your pocket.

Man resolves property dispute by demolishing neighbors' homes

A panicked 911 call out of Washington state this month highlights the importance of seeking legal representation in property disputes before they get out of hand.  As many residents here in Michigan may remember, the call to 911 dispatchers came just days ago from a man who explained that his neighbor was demolishing his home with a bulldozer.  In a matter of minutes, the 51-year-old man in the bulldozer had demolished four of his neighbors' homes and even destroyed one neighbor's truck.

Michigan State University dormitory demolition continues

Morrill Hall has been a prominent feature on the campus of Michigan State University since 1900 when the building was built.  Housing the first female dormitories, it's considered to be the oldest structure still standing on campus.  But after several inspections revealed that its wooden structure had deteriorated beyond repair, the school decided that it was time to lay this historic property to rest.

Man sues landlord after light falls from ceiling

Premises liability is probably something that all landlords think about but hope they never have to deal with the litigation that follows.  In most cases of premises liability, landlords are sued by their tenants or other people on their property, who have received injury as a result of an accident on the property.  And while some cases can be as simple as paying for the person's medical bills, other cases may not be as straightforward.

Muskegon native sets sights on sand mine for future properties

James Konecny had lived in Northern Michigan all his life, but a chance job opportunity took him and his family away from an area he always promised to return to.  While searching for a vacation property recently though he found something even better: an investment.

How are jointly owned accounts distributed to beneficiaries?

Let's talk about joint ownership of estate assets in Michigan. In particular, let's talk about when a parent decides to add his or her child to an account. In all likelihood, when the parent dies, ownership of the whole account will pass to the child.

Settlement awarded to family who unknowingly bought meth home

The disclosure process when purchasing a home can sometimes be one of those necessary evils, expecially if the home you are trying to buy has a lot of problems that need attending to before you move in.  But the need of a roof replacement seems minimal when some Michigan residents compare it to the ordeal an Oregon family went through when they bought their first home recently.

Willow Run Powertrain Plant: GM's biggest environmental liability

When General Motor's filed for bankruptcy in 2009, the company left behind numerous manufacturing sites that had, for years, been polluting the groundwater below them. But none were as big as the Willow Run Powertrain Plant in Michigan's own Ypsilanti Township. The 83-acre facility now sits on 4.1 million gallons of industrial solvents, chemical and oils, and is being considered GM's biggest environmental liability at this time.

Interweaving estate planning and business succession in Michigan

If you own a successful business in Michigan, no matter what your age is, it's time to start thinking about passing the business on to your successors. Many admirable entrepreneurs are so immersed in business operations that they become in large part defined by decisions related to the company, so it becomes difficult to let the business fall under the control of other parties, even if they're family members.

Hazelbank property goes on market for $18.9 million

If you've ever been to Holland in the southwest corner of Michigan, you were probably struck by the beauty of the area and its old-world feel.  If you ventured into the history of the area you would have learned that if it hadn't been for the Holland Furnace Co., once the city's largest employer, the town may not have survived the Great Depression.

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