News And Thoughts On The Law In Michigan

Key situations lead to probate litigation

Estates that go through probate can do so easily if the estate planning was done well; probate courts can do basic tasks like identifying assets of deceased individuals, determining the payments that need to be made for taxes and other expenses and assigning executors in uncontested situations relatively expediently. However, there are many cases where challenges arise, and probate litigation is the result.

Situations in which probate litigation arise include:

  • When a will's validity is challenged
  • When there is a suit regarding the wording or construction of a will or trust
  • When there is a dispute about whether or not a guardian needs to be appointed for someone for whom power of attorney has not been executed
  • Lawsuits regarding the modification or reformation of trusts
  • Suits that seek to terminate a trust based on a claim that the purpose of the trust has become impractical
  • Suits that beneficiaries file against a fiduciary based on a claim that the fiduciary failed to act in accordance with legal requirements

Get the information before securing a deal

When you own your own business, you probably focus on expanding your offerings in as many ways as possible. In some cases, that could include acquiring another company.

While the prospect of an acquisition might seem exciting, performing your due diligence before closing the deal is imperative in protecting your interests. However, do you know what to consider as you explore the option of purchasing an existing business?

3 reasons for estate disputes between siblings

Siblings may cite specific reasons for their estate disputes after their parents pass away. Maybe one sibling thinks that the other used undue influence to make the will say what they wanted it to say. Maybe they worry that the will is actually a fake, created by a sibling who was physically closer to the parents or that they tricked their parents into signing it.

But no matter the reason, there are often factors playing through beneath the surface. Three examples include:

  • The siblings were rivals when they were growing up. They have never moved past this stage in their lives, or the passing of their parents has brought all of those rivalries and issues back up again.
  • One of the children thinks that the other was the favorite. They have always felt like the parents showed favoritism and cared about them less. As a result, they are predisposed to think that the estate plan is unfair to them.
  • The argument centers around something that has no value. The entire value could be sentimental. For instance, both children want the same piece of artwork that their father always had in his office -- never mind that he bought it at an estate sale for $10 before they were born. The value is in those memories, and they can't divide that.

How to know if you are ready to become an entrepreneur

You may have been dreaming about starting your own business for months or even years. Maybe you have the perfect idea, but you are not sure if the timing is right.

It is difficult to tell when the right time is to take the leap into entrepreneurship, but according to a recent Forbes article, there are three signs to look for.

Proven legal help across the broad real estate universe

Some law firms dabble in real estate matters, with others having a more comprehensive and in-depth approach toward that specialized legal realm.

Indeed, real estate does comprise singular and expansive terrain. Individuals and business principals seeking legal help on any matter linked with a real estate transaction or litigation are unquestionably best served when they turn to a law firm having a dedicated real estate practice area.

Location isn't everything: find terms that work for your business

One of the major decisions you make as a business owner is your location. Depending on your business needs, you may want to be easily accessible, or perhaps you must adhere to zoning laws.

Whatever your specific concerns are, be sure your lease addresses the needs of your business, keeping growth in mind. As you enter into a commercial lease agreement, are you familiar with the terms you ought to consider?

Everyone should have an estate plan

Michigan residents and others may feel as if thinking about their mortality will actually lead to their demise. However, as everyone will die at some point, it is a good idea to get around to creating an estate plan. At a minimum, an individual should have a will regardless of their economic standing.

This is because a will allows a person to transfer family heirlooms and other assets to another person of his or her choosing. Many assets such as money in a bank account or retirement account will be transferred through a beneficiary designation. A beneficiary designation trumps whatever is written in a will, so it is important to review these legal documents on a regular basis.

DIY estate planning may come with hidden costs

For those inclined to do-it-yourself, the internet provides all but unlimited resources for just about any imaginable topic. There can be significant benefits to be gained from DIY projects, such as personal satisfaction and autonomy, but mostly they are undertaken as a cost-saving matter for important but expensive projects. For example, one can learn on YouTube how to fix a clogged kitchen drain or troubleshoot an automobile check engine light warning and find useful information. While there is no shortage of online sites offering DIY estate planning help, it's more difficult to know whether the information provided is accurate, up to date, and relevant for Michigan residents.

The old saying that "one doesn't know what one doesn't know" is on point. If the drain runs freely or the warning light goes off, the DIY project has likely succeeded, but if a DIY will is done incorrectly, the consequences may not be known for some time and the damage irreparable. Financial experts point out that while fill-in-the-blank type wills, for example, may be sufficient for some people, online estate planning sites rarely offer personalized service for individual circumstances, which are the reality for many.

Zoning laws and covenants: Similar, but not the same

When families buy their first home, it can feel like a dream come true. However, there are many steps to complete and matters to consider when purchasing a new home. From safety inspections to purchase agreements, it all can feel a little overwhelming. 

One thing that many first-time home buyers overlook is their property's land-use restrictions. There are two primary land-use issues that home buyers should consider: zoning laws and restrictive covenants. 

Michigan wants licensing for all medical marijuana shops

Unlicensed medical marijuana shops in Michigan will very likely need to obtain licenses once the state government establishes a process. The latest vote in the House of Representatives on the matter set a deadline of June 1 for unlicensed sellers to close if they wanted to qualify for a medical marijuana selling permit.

The House bill passed by a huge majority, 102-4, and now must be reviewed and voted on by the Senate. The bill calls for unlicensed businesses that fail to shutdown by the June deadline to suffer a penalty that blocks them from getting licenses for at least one year.

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