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Livonia Family Law Blog

Parental alienation can ruin relationships

Parental alienation is a serious accusation, but it is one that the courts have to take seriously. Parental alienation can come in a few forms, but in every situation, one parent is speaking or acting in a way that makes the couple's children begin to feel hurt, disgusted by or afraid of the other parent. This alienation technique is sometimes used to try to eliminate the other parent from the children's lives, even when they should still be allowed visitation or custody.

It can be hard to deal with parental alienation, particularly because what the children say may have some sway in court. With enough prompting, a court could even end up eliminating a person's custody rights or visitation completely.

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

PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE:

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."

Planning for your mental health

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.

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Livonia, MI 48154

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