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Michigan Elder Law Today

Monday, December 26, 2016

Disinheritance


Inheritance laws involve legal rights to property after a death and such laws differ from state-to-state.   Heirs usually consist of close family members and exclude estranged relatives.  Depending on the wording of a will, an individual can be intentionally, or even unintentionally, disinherited.

In most cases, spouses may not be legally disinherited.  Certain contracts, however, allow for a legitimate disinheritance, such as prenuptial agreements or postnuptial agreements.


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Monday, December 19, 2016

Preventing Will Contests


So, you have a will, but is it valid?  A will can be contested for a multitude of reasons after it is presented to a probate court.  It is in your best interest to have an attorney draft the will to prevent any ambiguity in the provisions of the document that others could dispute later.

A will may be targeted on grounds of fraud, mental incapacity, validity, duress, or undue influence.  These objections can draw out the probate process and make it very time consuming and expensive.  More importantly, an attorney can help ensure that your property is put into the right hands, rather than distributed to unfamiliar people or organizations that you did not intend to provide for.
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Monday, December 5, 2016

The Revocable Living Trust


There are many benefits to a revocable living trust that are not available in a will.  An individual can choose to have one or both, and an attorney can best clarify the advantages of each.  If the person engaged in planning his or her estate wants to retain the ability to change or rescind the document, the living trust is probably the best option since it is revocable.

The document is called a “living” trust because it is applicable throughout one's lifetime.  Another individual or entity, such as a bank, can be appointed as trustee to manage and protect assets and to distribute assets to beneficiaries upon one's death.
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Monday, November 28, 2016

VA Extends Deadline for Gulf War Beneficiaries

The Gulf War, which began in the early 1990’s, originally involved 34 nations and took place in the Middle East – and relied on service from nearly 700,000 U.S. troops. While engaged in combat, these troops were exposed to a wide range of situations giving rise to severe, lifelong injuries. While some troops were injured by exposure to toxins, others sustained combat-related injuries from explosives, bullets and other hazards.



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Friday, November 25, 2016

Ongoing Controversial Debate Over Veterans' Long-Term Care in Michigan

As practitioners of veteran’s benefits law in Michigan, we routinely meet with the valiant and courageous former service members as they embark on the process to obtain much-needed benefits from the federal and state governments. One of the most pressing issues – both in our state and elsewhere – is the pressing need for affordable, quality long-term care for veterans. Currently, proposed legislation drafted to supposedly “fix” this problem has many concerned that the state may be leaning towards privatization of the veteran’s long-term care industry – which raises further concerns of consistency & proper oversight.


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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Key Reasons to Have an Estate Plan

Why do I need to have an estate plan?

For those of you who missed it, October 17 -23 was National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Since 2008, this annual event has been aimed at educating the public about estate planning and the reasons why it is so crucial. One would think that people recognize the importance of estate planning today, given the fact that so much financial information is currently available through the media and on the internet.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

The Hard Choices of Estate Planning

Who should I select to manage my financial affairs and make medical decisions in my estate plan?

Once you've taken the leap to plan your estate you will be faced with difficult choices, especially regarding who should handle your property and financial affairs as well as who is best suited to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Ultimately, these decisions hinge on the skills and the emotional intelligence of the individuals you select to take on these responsibilities.

Financial Affairs

The most basic estate planning tool is a will, which allows you to name a personal representative to manage and distribute your estate after your death.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Elderly Michigan Woman Crashes Through Laundromat Window

When is the best time to consider a Guardianship for your elderly loved ones?

Customers of Michigan laundromat “The Laundry Station” were shocked this past week when a 98-year-old woman drove her car through the business’ plate glass window after confusing the accelerator and brake pedals.  Thankfully, no serious injuries were reported after the crash.  However, this incident does bring to light some difficult questions about when guardianship may be an appropriate step in protecting your loved ones.

Hanging up the keys to the car can be a traumatic experience, representing a significant loss of autonomy. Sometimes, claims of theft or abuse or other serious conflicts have arisen when caring family members have attempted to take away their loved ones’ driving privileges.


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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Planning Ahead for Medical Care


What are advance medical directives?

Estate planning is simply a matter of getting your affairs in order, and while no one wants to think about dying, it is crucial to protect your assets, provide for your loved ones and ensure your wishes are carried out. It is also essential to have a plan for the type of medical treatment you would like to receive if you are injured in an accident or suffer an illness and become incapacitated. By putting in place a health care proxy, a living will and other documents - also known as advance medical directives, you can plan in advance for the type of treatment you should receive if you cannot make decisions or speak for yourself.

What is a durable power of attorney for healthcare?

This legal document, or healthcare proxy, enables you to select someone you trust to make medical care decisions if you become incapacitated. This person, referred to as your agent, will collaborate with your doctors to ensure the medical care being provided agrees with your wishes.


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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fighting Elder Financial Abuse


What is being done to protect elders from financial exploitation? 

In August, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report on community-based efforts to handle what has been called the crime of the twenty-first century:  the financial abuse of elders. The CFPB reported noted that a collaborative effort by financial institutions, adult protective services and law enforcement is critical to protecting elders from financial exploitation.


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Monday, August 29, 2016

What Your Loved Ones Absolutely Need to Know About Your Estate Plan


The conversation about a person’s last wishes can be an awkward one for both the individual who is the topic of conversation and his or her loved ones. The end of someone’s life is not a topic anyone looks forward to discussing. It is, however, an important conversation that must be had so that the family understands  the testator’s final wishes before he or she passes away. If a significant sum is being left to someone or some entity outside of the family, an explanation of this action may go a long way to avoiding a contested will. In a similar vein, if one heir is receiving a larger share of the estate than the others, it is prudent to have this action explained.


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Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Probate attorney Andrew Byers helps people in Troy, MI and throughout Oakland County, MI including Royal Oak, Clawson, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Rochester Hills, as well as throughout the metro Detroit area, including Macomb County and Wayne County, Michigan.



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