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The Fall of the High Achiever

By Doug Chalgian on Nov 13, 2017

I litigate cases involving exploitation of older adults. Early in my career, I was in court on a particularly difficult case. A highly respected scholar, professor, autho ...

Their Greatest Gift

By Amy Tripp on Sep 26, 2017

I knew early in law school that I wanted to do something with people with disabilities, including issues of aging in vulnerable adults. When I was in high school, I had t ...

Guilty Thoughts at the Funeral Home

By Chalgian & Tripp on Jul 26, 2017

Someone close to you died. You’re nicely dressed and at the funeral home. All the talk is about condolences, sympathy and shared memories. It’s not that you aren’t ...
Amy Tripp - Leading Lawyers Magazine

Amy Tripp – Bringing Dignity to Practice of Elder and Special Needs Law

By Chalgian & Tripp on Jul 12, 2017

Amy Rombyer Tripp keeps client files filled with details few lawyers would ever think to ask: favorite food, laundry detergent, brand of shampoo. Not every file inside ...

Estate Planning: For the Family Farm or Business

By Chalgian & Tripp on Jun 13, 2017

So-called "business succession planning" has always presented unique challenges to estate planners. And while there are certainly many challenges to successful business s ...

Our Updated ABLE Brochure

By Christopher Smith on May 11, 2017

Are you wondering if an ABLE Account is right for you or for a loved one? Our attorneys have spent countless hours studying the ABLE Act and looking at ABLE programs acro ...
Asset Protection Trusts

Asset Protection Trusts – the New Game in Town

By Doug Chalgian on May 08, 2017

With little fanfare, at the close of 2016, the Michigan Legislature passed (and Governor Snyder signed) legislation that created a new and dramatically different estate p ...
special needs planner

10 Costly Special Needs Planning Mistakes

By Chalgian & Tripp on Jun 06, 2016

In this free download, 10 Special Needs Planning Mistakes to Avoid, you will find the key costly mistakes you can make when planning for a loved one with special needs an ...
The present, past and future of elder law

The Present, Past and Future of Elder Law

By Doug Chalgian on Jan 01, 2016

For obvious reasons, I interact with a lot of people who are looking for an “elder law” attorney. The label seems to have caught on. So I will take this opportunity t ...
Bay County judge awards $1.5M for trust conversion

Bay County judge awards $1.5M for trust conversion

By Chalgian & Tripp on Feb 16, 2015

By Douglas Levy Douglas G. Chalgian said that in his nearly two decades of practicing probate litigation and elder law, he had never encountered an instance in which a ...
Estate Plans for When Kids Don't do As Well As You

Estate Plans for When Your Kids Won’t Do As Well As You

By Doug Chalgian on May 22, 2014

By the time I meet with clients (usually in their 50s or 60s, if not older), they have a pretty good idea of how their children will make out: whether their marriages wi ...
Matter of Trust

A Matter of Trust

By Doug Chalgian on Oct 22, 2011

For many people, the process of estate planning begins with the question: “Do I need a Trust?” In the remainder of this article, a question and answer approach wil ...
Finding the Right Lawyer

Finding the Right Lawyer

By Doug Chalgian on Nov 28, 2016

The way I see it, people often struggle to find the right lawyer for their cases. Over the years, I have been involved in many cases in which more than one party is repre ...

The Top 10 Ways to Incite Anarchy When You Die

By Doug Chalgian on Sep 02, 2016

When I talk to clients about their estate planning objectives, and make suggestions as to how things might go smoother, one reaction I sometimes get is: “I don’t r ...
Caring for aging parents

Caring for Aging Parents

By Doug Chalgian on Dec 15, 2015

It sounds like a simple proposition: hiring caregivers to help an impaired older adult remain in their home. But, as with many of the issues that arise in the context of ...
Modern Estate Planning Focuses on Life Events

Modern Estate Planning Focuses on Life Events

By Doug Chalgian on Aug 10, 2015

Unless your estate planning documents provide direction as to how to strike the balance between protecting assets and paying for higher quality of care, decisions w ...
lawsuits

Starting a Lawsuit in the Real World

By Doug Chalgian on May 15, 2015

One of the more frequent conversations I have with clients these days comes up with people who are considering starting a lawsuit. Because of the nature of my practice, t ...

Advising Clients on Medicare

By Christopher Smith on Nov 01, 2014

For too long, Medicare has been the forgotten stepchild of elder law. Few attorneys know its ins and outs, and most struggle to profitably integrate it into their law pra ...
what could go wrong with your living trust

What Could Go Wrong with Your Living Trust?

By Doug Chalgian on Oct 01, 2014

When asked about an estate plan, clients often say: “We’re all set, we have a living trust.” And that’s good. Often having a living trust (a.k.a. revocable trust) ...

Patterns in Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults Cases

By Doug Chalgian on Aug 01, 2014

Clients who meet with me about elderly family members who are being, or have been, financially exploited are often surprised when, shortly into telling me their story, I ...
WHEN ELDER LAW MEETS DINK PLANNING

When Elder Law Meets DINK Planning

By Chalgian & Tripp on Jul 01, 2014

As an elder law attorney who also does estate planning, I've noticed a marked increase in client couples with dual incomes and no kids (so-called "DINKs"). While my exper ...
two stories about aging

Two Stories About Aging

By Doug Chalgian on Jan 01, 2014

As an elder law and estate planning attorney, helping clients understand options and make informed decisions is rewarding. But the decisions they have to make are often d ...
Overcoming the urge to do something about long term care

Overcoming the Urge to “Do Something” About Long-term Care

By Doug Chalgian on Oct 01, 2013

Getting old is scary. Friends and loved ones are dead and dying. Your body has declined. Your mind may be failing. What seemed like a nice nest egg now seems inadequate. ...

New Power of Attorney Law Challenges Planners

By Doug Chalgian on Jul 31, 2013

As our clients age, and as the population of persons with cognitive impairments expands, the importance of the financial power of attorney is elevated. This reality is re ...
Is Your "Living Trust" Alive, or Barely Breathing?

Is Your “Living Trust” Alive, or Barely Breathing?

By Doug Chalgian on Jul 01, 2013

I often tell clients that estate planning is about two things: (1) What happens to your stuff when you die; and (2) who can make decisions for you if you are alive and ca ...
Adult Guardianship

Adult Guardianship: The New Divorce

By Doug Chalgian on Mar 05, 2013

Family conflicts have historically been the province of family law or divorce court. Now those same issues have become the meat and potatoes of the elder law practitioner ...
Plan to Be 100

Plan to Be 100

By Doug Chalgian on Jan 01, 2013

These days, living to be 100 years old is not unusual. But most people (at least most of my clients) don’t necessarily want to think about what that means from a planni ...
What does asset protection really mean

What Does “Asset Protection” Really Mean?

By Doug Chalgian on Oct 01, 2012

When clients talk to me about setting up a trust, they often believe that by doing so, they will “protect their assets,” although they are rarely able to explain what ...
MY KIDS, YOUR KIDS, HIS KIDS, HER KIDS: WHY SECOND MARRIAGES MAKE ESTATE PLANNING A CHALLENGE

My Kids, Your Kids, His Kids, Her Kids: Why Second Marriages Make Estate Planning a Challenge

By Doug Chalgian on Jul 01, 2012

Estate planning is about two things: (1) What happens to my stuff when I die?; and (2) Who makes decisions for me if I am alive but unable to make decisions for myself? B ...
the pitfalls of helping out your family members

The Pitfalls of “Helping Out” Your Family Members

By Doug Chalgian on Jan 01, 2012

In America, parents have a tradition of “helping out” their children. But it is assumed that the need for this help ends at some point, typically when the child gradu ...

Planning with Discretionary Testamentary Trusts

By Chalgian & Tripp on Dec 05, 2011

Many estate planners remain unaware of the proper situation in which a discretionary testamentary trust ("DTT") may provide a desirable option for their clients... ...
Understanding the power of power of attorneys

Understanding the Power of Power of Attorneys

By Doug Chalgian on Apr 01, 2011

It is not uncommon to become involved in legal disputes where someone is troubled by the way a “power of attorney” is behaving... ...
Protecting Your Inheritance

Protecting Your Inheritance

By Doug Chalgian on Jan 01, 2011

The focus of estate planning and elder law is typically on preparing documents and taking other steps to implement the wishes of the person establishing the plan and leav ...
What does Asset protection really mean?

What Does Asset Protection Really Mean? Part II

By Doug Chalgian on Oct 01, 2010

This is the second part of an article What Does “Asset Protection” Really Mean? In the first installment, the topics of Protecting Assets from Probate, Protecting Ass ...

Special Needs=Special Planning

By Doug Chalgian on Apr 01, 2010

The term “special needs” gained some notoriety during that brief period of time that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was in the news as the running mate of Senator John M ...
Elder Law Litigation and the Lessons I've Learned

Elder Law Litigation and the Lessons I’ve Learned

By Doug Chalgian on Jan 01, 2010

Elder law litigation is on the rise. But little has been written about it, and from what I see in probate courts around the state, little is understood... ...
Power of Discretion and Introduction to Creditor Rights and Disability Planning Under the Michigan Trust Code

The Power of Discretion: An Introduction to Creditor Rights and Disability Planning Under the Michigan Trust Code

By Doug Chalgian on Dec 01, 2009

The rights of creditor’s to collect against assets held in trust are expressed in Part 5 of the Michigan Trust Code (the “MTC”). The objective of this article will ...
Ten Common Twists in the Road to a Smooth Estate Plan: Part II

Ten Common Twists in the Road to a Smooth Estate Plan: Part II

By Doug Chalgian on Oct 01, 2009

This is the second part of an article that addresses common issues that arise in estate planning and ideas on how they may be addressed... ...
Ten Common Twists in the Road to a Smooth Estate Plan

Ten Common Twists in the Road to a Smooth Estate Plan: Part I

By Doug Chalgian on Jul 01, 2009

As an estate planning attorney, it’s nice once in a while to meet with clients who really have a “simple” estate plan — but then again, if that’s all you had to ...
Drafting Trusts with Prophylactic Planning Provisions

Drafting Trusts with Prophylactic Planning Provisions—How Far Should You Go?

By Doug Chalgian on Apr 01, 2009

Most of us are comfortable with the idea of including a catch-call provision in our trust agreements that prevents trust property from unexpectedly being distributed to m ...
Funerals and Family Fights

Funerals and Family Fights

By Doug Chalgian on Oct 01, 2008

It’s a cliché among estate attorneys: the biggest legal battles often begin with disputes about the smallest items: “who gets the mantle clock?” … for example... ...

Medicaid Planning Basics

By Doug Chalgian on Jul 01, 2008

Welcome to the complex, confusing and sometimes controversial world of “Medicaid Planning.” “Medicaid planning” is an area of the law in which attorneys advise cl ...
The ABC's of Medicaid

The ABC’s of Medicaid

By Doug Chalgian on Apr 01, 2008

Medicaid is a government health insurance program. Unlike Medicare (the other big government health insurance program) to qualify for Medicaid a person must be elderly or ...
Estate Recovery

Estate Recovery

By Doug Chalgian on Jan 01, 2008

In the recent flurry of legislative activity in Lansing, a new law was enacted that is especially important to Michigan’s senior citizens. The “estate recovery” law ...
Medicaid Planning: Time of Change

Medicaid Planning: Time of Change

By Doug Chalgian on Oct 01, 2007

Times are changing in the world of Medicaid planning. Always a volatile area of the law, Medicaid planning has entered a period in which the changes being implemented are ...
Michigan Probate Estate Journal

Be a Hero to Your Clients: Seven Simple Questions about VA Aid and Attendance Pensions

By Chalgian & Tripp on Jun 01, 2007

Planning for clients who need long term care is not always about Medicaid. Many clients may be eligible for other benefi ts, most notably the “Aid and Attendance” Pen ...
ICLE's New Michigan Medicaid Planning Handbook

ICLE’s New Michigan Medicaid Planning Handbook

By George A. Cooney Jr. on Apr 01, 2007

This book is unique in that it provides practical, step-by-step instruction about obtaining Medicaid assistance for the client who is facing a nursing home stay, or who m ...
New Law Clarifies Funeral Rights

New Law Clarifies Funeral Rights

By Doug Chalgian on Dec 01, 2006

Michigan recently adopted new laws designed to clear up confusion about who has the legal authority to control funeral arrangements for a decedent... ...
Federal Legislation Leaves Medicaid Planning in Limbo

Federal Legislation Leaves Medicaid Planning in Limbo

By Doug Chalgian on Jun 01, 2006

On February 8, 2006, President Bush signed into law the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), a massive piece of legislation that requires states to significantly change s ...

Elder Law and Medicaid in 2004

By Doug Chalgian on Dec 01, 2004

Historically, clients come to elder law attorneys confused and, as a result, often frightened. Both are unfortunate... ...

Helping Elderly Clients Who Have Been Financially Exploited

By Doug Chalgian on Feb 01, 2002

In Michigan, circuit court is the general trial court. As such, circuit courts have subject matter jurisdiction over all matters except those statutorily exclusively assi ...

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