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Livonia Family Legal Blog

What's a Ladybird deed?

A Ladybird deed is a method of estate planning that can help you qualify for long-term nursing care through Medicaid and avoid probate. Also known as an "enhanced life estate deed," the Ladybird deed is not well-known -- or well-understood.

Named after Lady Bird Johnson (as you probably guessed), this particular estate-planning tool is only available in three states: Texas, Florida and Michigan. A Ladybird deed has significant advantages that are worth considering.

The myth of 'happily ever after'

All kinds of fairy tales end with a young couple in love and a line that goes, "And they lived happily ever after." For the most part, research indicates that marriage does bring a lot of benefits.

However, psychologists say that researchers may not be taking in the whole picture. Marriage may make people "happily ever after" only if they're already inclined to be happy in the first place -- and nothing too serious comes along to disrupt the union.

The way you ask for a divorce can impact your future

If you're at the point where divorce is the only answer to your marital problems, you'll want nothing more than to start the process. While it's okay to move things in the right direction, you must be careful of how you ask your spouse for a divorce.

If you take the right approach, it can ease the tension and allow you to move forward in a more efficient manner.

New Year's resolutions about estate planning you should make

Are you still looking for a New Year's resolution worth keeping? If so, it might be time to put your estate plan in place.

No matter what your age or wealth, experts say that it's important to have a basic estate plan. Aside from a will, this includes:

Could you be headed for a post-holiday divorce?

Among divorce lawyers, the time immediately following the holidays is a special time all its own...it's often called "divorce season."

Technically, it's one of two seasons during the year when divorce rates tend to spike. A study that evaluated divorce statistics in the state of Washington found that divorces spike around March and August. Researchers theorize that couples often try to fix a troubled marriage over either the winter holidays or during summer vacation. When their hopes aren't realized, their disillusionment allows them to finally take steps toward a divorce.

When your kid dislikes your child custody plan

Child custody and support are two elements of getting divorced that plague both parents. Sometimes, the children might accept the split and the resulting custody arrangements while continuing to thrive. Other times, kids of divorce do not handle the new situation very well at all and may display depression or acting-out behaviors.

The problem for Michigan parents with an unhappy brood after divorce is knowing whether to seek modifications for their existing child custody order. We know how sensitive these issues are, and we understand why parents need advice to make the best decisions. If the child is just acting out, changing a custody order may feed this behavior instead of solving the problem. On the other hand, if the child is truly suffering, ignoring the issue will provide no help.

Basic information about probate in Michigan

Probate is one of those terms that people hear a lot but do not have a good understanding of what it means. In the simplest language possible, probate is a legal process in which a deceased person's estate is settled, meaning that the assets are distributed and the debts are paid. These tasks typically fall to the executor named in the decedent's will. While this sounds pretty easy, probate can be quite complicated in many cases.

To help our readers in Michigan develop a better understanding of what goes on during probate, we have put together the following basic information. Although this information can help, we still urge residents to seek legal representation or advice before attempting to handle the probate process alone.

  • The executor gathers the deceased person's probate property.
  • He or she also collects any income and assets owed to the decedent.
  • The next step involves paying all the estate's taxes and debts.
  • If all has gone well, one of the last steps in probate is transferring the decedent's remaining assets to his or her heirs.

Why should I mediate my child custody dispute?

The thought of not being able to spend a single day with one's child could elicit a strong, defensive reaction from a parent. Nevertheless, that's a reality divorcing parents may have to face. In fact, some parents might have to spend more than a week between visits with his or her children.

Because of the strong emotional ties parents have with their children, a child custody dispute can turn contentious in a heartbeat -- and this is where mediation can help. Through the use of a skilled child custody mediator, parents have a better chance of resolving important issues quickly, peacefully and cost-effectively.

Estate plans often require changes

There are two mistakes that people often make with estate planning. The first is that they do their planning and then forget about it, assuming they are set forever. The second is that they don't do it at all because they can't figure out every last detail, like what assets should go to their children or who to pick as the executor.

In both cases, there is one key thing to remember: Estate planning changes. It's flexible. It's an ongoing process that may require multiple discussions with your family.

Does your child’s other parent respect your custody time?

It is rarely easy to transition from raising your child with their other parent to raising the child separately and sharing custody time. Parents who want the best for their child may still treat the other parent unfairly, either out of ignorance or plain resentment. While this type of bad behavior may seem understandable, it is still unacceptable, especially if the behavior of one parent takes away from the court ordered time that the other parent spends with their child or undermines the parent-child relationship.

When one parent's actions obstruct the other parent's relationship with their child, it is usually parenting time interference. Courts take this matter very seriously, especially if it violates the parenting agreement and custody order that the court approved.

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