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Michigan Elder Law Today

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.


Read more . . .


Monday, August 15, 2016

Should a Power of Attorney be a part of my Estate Plan?


A durable power of attorney is an important part of an estate plan. It provides that, in the event of disability or incapacitation, a preselected agent can be granted power over the affairs of the individual signing the document. This power can be limited to specific decisions, like the decision to continue life sustaining treatment, or it can be much broader in scope to allow the agent power over the individual’s financial dealings.

Estate planning is meant to prepare for contingencies beyond an individual’s control. A traumatic accident could leave an individual without the ability to manage his or her own financial affairs.


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Friday, August 5, 2016

New Michigan Law Allows You to Designate Who Is in Charge of Your Funeral


Who will plan my funeral and resting place arrangements after I die?

For the first time in Michigan’s history, you can now designate a funeral representative who will make important decisions about your funeral arrangements and resting place after death.  The new law, known as the Funeral Representative Act of 2016, took effect on June 27, 2016, and is being heralded as bringing much-needed change to Michigan’s estate planning laws.

Prior Michigan Law

Before passage of the Funeral Representative Act, Michiganders had no control over their funeral or who would be in charge of critical burial or cremation planning.  The law gave priority to your surviving spouse, child, or another close relative, but you could not designate a specific individual to make these vital decisions.  For many, this inability to appoint a funeral representative caused conflict and uncertainty over whether their final wishes would be carried out.


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Monday, July 25, 2016

How to Calculate Estate Tax


In order to predict how much your estate will have to pay in taxes, one must first determine the value of the estate. To determine this, many assets might have to be appraised at fair market value. The estate includes all assets including real estate, cash, securities, stocks, bonds, business interests, loans receivable, furnishings, jewelry, and other valuables.

Once your net worth is established, you can subtract liabilities like mortgages, credit cards, other legitimate debts, funeral expenses, medical bills, and the administrative cost to settle your estate including attorney, accounting and appraisal fees, storage and shipping fees, insurances, and court fees. The administrative expenses will likely total roughly 5% of the total estate.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Whether Prince or Pauper, Make an Estate Plan


I’m not rich. Do I really need a will or trust?

The shock of Prince’s death in April at age of 57 rocked the music world. The fact that he apparently died without leaving a will or trust rocked the legal world. You don’t have to be rich to have a will (or to be my girl, as the famous Prince lyric goes).

Prince died leaving no known spouse, children, parents, or grandparents behind.


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Monday, July 4, 2016

When is a person unfit to make a will?


Testamentary capacity refers to a person’s ability to understand and execute a will. As a general rule, most people who are over the age of eighteen are thought to be competent to make and sign the will. They must be able to understand that they are signing the will, they must understand the nature of the property being affected by the will, and they must remember and understand who is affected by the will. These are simple burdens to meet. However, there are a number of reasons a person might challenge a will based on testamentary capacity.
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Monday, June 27, 2016

How does life insurance fit into my estate plan?


Life insurance can be an integral part of an estate plan. Policies can be set up to be paid directly to the beneficiary, without the need to pass through the estate, and without the need for any taxes to be paid. Having a life insurance policy ensures that some assets will be liquid, so that debts and expenses can be paid quickly and easily without the need to dispose of assets. Beneficiaries can be changed at any time as can the benefit amount. The policy can be used to accumulate savings if the plan is surrendered before death.
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Avoiding Financial Ruin through Medicaid Planning

If you had to pay for long-term care in a nursing home, could you afford to?

In the past, much elder care was handled informally at home. However, as more and more women started to work outside the home, wives and daughters were not available to care for aging parents or in-laws in addition to all their other responsibilities to work and family. Also, as modern medicine has improved, people are living longer with chronic medical conditions. However, in the last years of their lives, many seniors may have complex medical issues and care needs that only can be met by professionals.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why Selecting an Elder Care Facility Requires Careful Planning


What are the consequences of nursing home neglect?

As the population grows older, many individuals and their loved ones will need to make difficult decisions about long-term care. When a parent or another relative can no longer care for themselves, becoming a resident of a nursing home may be the best option. Given that elder abuse and neglect is a growing problem, however, finding the right facility requires careful consideration.


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Monday, June 13, 2016

Five Common Reasons a Will Might Be Invalid


There are several reasons that a will may prove invalid. It is important for testators to be aware of these pitfalls in order to avoid them.

Improper Execution

The requirements vary from state to state, but most states require a valid will to be witnessed by two people not named in the will.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Nursing Home Evictions in Michigan


 The thought of enrolling a loved one in a long-term stay at a local nursing home can be devastating enough for families, notwithstanding the alarming uptrend in patient evictions for reasons almost always relating to the ability to pay. When facing an eviction, families are often left scrambling to find appropriate substitute care, which often proves difficult for those patients facing serious medical issues. And, unfortunately, the rash of evictions in Michigan -- as well as nationwide -- is closely correlated to the severity of the patient’s dementia and daily behavior, with the most combative patients facing sudden and abrupt involuntary removals.

According to industry experts, the trend toward evicting the most “difficult” patients can be tied directly to the profitability of the nursing facility, with these patients necessarily requiring additional staff and monitoring. When the cost of supervising the patient becomes too great, facilities do not hesitate to have the patient removed in favor a less-intensive resident.


Read more . . .


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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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