Keeping your Treasures from Becoming a Garage Sale Bargain

By Chalgian & Tripp on January 25, 2019

Man at flea market
Most of us get a kick out of those stories about a valuable piece of art or baseball card that ends up being purchased for almost nothing at the Goodwill store or at a garage...

The Downside of a Deed in the Drawer

By Chalgian & Tripp on January 3, 2019

Deed Discovered
Sometimes the old ways are best.  But sometimes the old ways were never really all that smart.  Signing deeds and not recording them until after death is an old school approach...

Old Estate Planning Ideas Give Way to New Technology

By Doug Chalgian on December 5, 2018

Old Estate Planning Ideas Give Way to New Technology

As Duane Horton contemplated his death, he decided to use on app on his smartphone to write a message that explained how he wanted his estate distributed when he was gone. Under Michigan law, that “document” was his will. So says the Michigan Court of Appeals in the recent case of In Re Estate of Duane Francis Horton, II.

Long Anticipated Changes for VA Rules Arrive

By Erin Majka on September 19, 2018

Erin Majka
Clients who have served in the military and face the prospect of needing long term care for themselves or their spouse, often have questions about benefits available through the...

Getting Old is Not for Sissies

By Doug Chalgian on August 22, 2018

Getting Old is Not for Sissies

Recently, a colleague told me about an experience she had with her father and father-in-law. Both were widowed. Both were of an advanced age. Both were beginning to experience trouble getting around. When presented with the proposition that they could benefit from using a wheelchair at times, one was all for it, the other was completely opposed. This story illustrates an important aspect of the aging process that doesn’t always get a lot of attention, but which can be the most important variable in anticipating how challenging the aging process will be.

Elder Bankruptcy

By Christopher Smith on February 5, 2018

Fixed incomes and fixed assets make older adults particularly vulnerable to financial fluctuations.  A bad investment, an unexpected medical crisis, a financial predator or an unwise financial decision resulting from cognitive decline can quickly turn an older adult’s financial world upside down.


Storm Clouds in Elder Law Land

By Doug Chalgian on January 8, 2018

It seems to me that we are living through what could be a case study on the way the law evolves to address a rapidly changing social environment. More people are living...

What is an Adult Guardianship?

By John Mabley on September 5, 2017

A guardian is a person appointed by the probate court to make decisions about the personal care of another person. In Michigan, there are three types of guardians: 1) Guardians...

What Is A Medicaid Block Grant?

By Christopher Smith on March 6, 2017

Somewhere in the U.S. Capitol is a locked down health care bill that will likely be introduced by the House of Representatives this week. Early indications are that the draft bill...

The Present, Past and Future of Elder Law

By Doug Chalgian on January 1, 2016

The present, past and future of elder law

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 to explain what I understand “elder law” to be, look back at where it came from, and look ahead to where it may be going.

A young but growing specialty

Elder law is a specialized area of legal work that involves traditional estate planning, but focuses more particularly on issues that clients face as they age, and especially legal issues associated with the late stages of life, such as long-term care planning, surrogate decision-making and end-of-life care.

This is a young practice area, probably no more than 30 years old. The founding of the National Academy ofAttorneys in 1987 probably provides the best marker for its start.

Finding the Right Lawyer

By Doug Chalgian on November 28, 2016

Finding the Right Lawyer

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 represented by an attorney. Not infrequently, I look across the table and wonder how this person ended up with that lawyer. Often what I learn is that…


One of the best benefits for individuals with disabilities in Michigan is officially going away November 14th, 2016 (with an effective date no later than December 15, 2016). ...

Caring for Aging Parents

By Doug Chalgian on December 15, 2015

Caring for aging parents

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 aging, nothing is quite as simple as it first appears…

VA Changes Looming

By Chalgian & Tripp on February 12, 2015

The Veterans Administration recently announced proposed changes to policy with respect to the increasingly popular Aid and Attendance enhanced pension program.  This program...

Good Guys Win Financial Exploitation Case

By Chalgian & Tripp on February 8, 2015

Frances and Elizabeth Stafford were sisters in the Bay City area. When Elizabeth died, her trust continued for the benefit of Frances. Frances was a vulnerable adult, physically...