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Livonia Family Law Blog

Dower Rights Abolished

Any person who deals with real estate in Michigan has run across an odd law regarding a wife's "dower interest" in property owned by her husband. The concept of dower extends as far back as the Magna Carta in 1215, when English nobles wanted assurance that when they died, their widows would receive some portion of their land. (At that time, any land owned by a nobleman at the time of his death automatically reverted to the king, leaving the widow destitute.)

How an estate plan helps you and your family

When a Michigan resident passes away without an estate plan, it can have devastating consequences for surviving family members and potential heirs. For example, imagine your mother died without a will and the court must divide her estate between you and your five siblings.

Since no will exists, the estate dispensation of your mother's assets will happen according to Michigan state intestacy laws. A probate court will make all the decisions about who gets what. If family members disagree, they might file legal actions to assert their wishes in court, which can result in expensive litigation.

The Difference Between a Personal Representative and a Trustee


A personal representative is appointed by a probate court judge to manage the administration of an estate when someone dies with or without a will and has not transferred all their property into a living trust. If the decedent had a last will and testament in which they named the person they wanted to serve as personal representative, the probate court judge will most likely honor his wishes and appoint this individual. The personal representative of an "intestate" estate, one without a valid will, is commonly called the estate's "administrator."


Many people make plans for various aspects of their retirement, but how many plan for their mental health as they grow older?  The Journal of the American Society of Neurology reported a study last year showing how to plan to reduce the chances (and severity) of dementia.  The report showed that older people who engage in regular exercise experience far less cognitive decline than those who get little or no exercise.  The difference in cognitive decline is equivalent to the decline you would expect from ten years of aging.

April 23 is Independence Day for the Conch Republic

April 23rd is Independence Day for the Conch Republic, which declared independence from the United States on this date in 1982.  The community - commonly known as Key West, Florida - seceded from the union when the U.S. Border Patrol set up a roadblock and inspection point between Key West and the Florida mainland.  The roadblock was to search for narcotics and illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. though the Florida Keys, but it caused great inconvenience for the residents and tourists to the island.  In protest, the island declared itself a "Soverign State of Mind", seeking to bring more "Humor, Warmth and Respect" to a world in sore need of all three according to its current Secretary General, Peter Anderson.

How can a special needs trust help my disabled child?

Many parents worry that their child with special needs may find life impossible once they are gone. After all, the often astronomical cost of living with special needs requires government assistance, but leaving a large sum of money to a beneficiary may disqualify him or her from receiving that crucial help.

Fortunately, estate planning law provides ways for loving parents to provide for their child long after they pass away without jeopardizing the child's government assistance. Through a special needs trust, it is possible to leave a large number of resources to a child, while limiting his or her access to them in order to keep qualifying for government subsidy.

Beware of Phony IRS Scams

The IRS repeatedly publishes warnings about scams by people posing as IRS agents and demanding either money or information from taxpayers.  The scams usually involve dire warnings and threats about what might happen if the taxpayer fails to cooperate.  The IRS warns that it "will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about a bill or refund."  Also, it never asks for payment by credit card, iTunes or PayPal.

Who owns the Detroit Tigers?

Family Plan is a Matter of Trust

Mike Illitch, who bought the team for $85 million in 1992, died Feb. 10 at age 87.  Because his widow, Marian Illitch, owns MotorCity Casino Hotel, she is prohibited from inheriting the Tigers under Major League Baseball's rule that forbids theam owners from having any stake in gambling operations.

Expect Changes in Employer-provided Health Insurance

Expect Changes in Employer-provided Health Insurance

When the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") became law, there was a lot of news and public debate regarding people who bought health insurance "on the exchange," meaning they are purchasing individual policies.  But group policies offered by employers also experienced some new requirements.  Here are five of those changes imposed by the Affordable Care Act on employer-provided health care plans.  The future of these rules is now in doubt.  If you are in an employer-provided health care plans.  The future of these rules is now in doubt.  If you are in an employer-provided health care plan, you may see some changes in these areas.  


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Livonia, MI 48154

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