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...
An Attorney's Duty to Effectively Communicate With Clients Under the ADA

A client with hearing loss contacts your office wanting to draft an estate plan.  She relies on American Sign Language (ASL) for most of her communication.  You freeze, what do you need to have to do?  The answer is simple:  you need to provide her with the aids or services that are required for you and her to have a normal attorney-client relationship.  Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), that will likely include a qualified ASL interpreter at your expense.

Fancy Legal Language Creates Confusion

By Chrysa Milholland on October 24, 2017

The words lawyers use when drafting wills and trusts should be clear.  A recent Court of Appeals case shows the problems that arise when lawyers use flowery language.In the...

Estate Planning: For the Family Farm or Business

By Chalgian & Tripp on June 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 succession planning, due to the limited space available, this article will discuss only one aspect of business planning: The threshold issue of how to plan for a business to pass to the next generation when only some of the children are involved in the business operations.

Asset Protection Trusts

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 planning option for Michigan residents. These new laws allow for so-called domestic asset protection trusts (DAPT). Here’s what you need to know:


The Top 10 Ways to Incite Anarchy When You Die

By Doug Chalgian on September 2, 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 really care that much. After all, I’ll be dead.” While I only hear that from a minority of clients, it never fails to make me smile. There’s something so practical about it. (more…)

Modern Estate Planning Focuses on Life Events

By Doug Chalgian on August 10, 2015

Modern Estate Planning Focuses on Life Events

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 will be made by family members who may have their own ideas, and their own interest in your estate.

New Year Brings New Uncapping Rule

By Chalgian & Tripp on December 31, 2014

As addressed in a prior post, the laws about uncapping real estate taxes have become more complex and significant. Recent additional changes in the law have dramatically improved...

Estate Recovery in the Court of Appeals

By Chalgian & Tripp on December 2, 2014

For those who follow the “estate recovery” saga, you may be interested to know that there are two cases currently pending in the Court of Appeals. In Re Estate of Violet...

When Elder Law Meets DINK Planning

By Chalgian & Tripp on July 1, 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 experience in elder law informs my planning across the board in no area of the practice has this perspective been more valuable than in planning…

Uncapping Property Taxes: The New Planning Conundrum

By Doug Chalgian on February 2, 2014

As of January 1, 2014, a new exception exists in Michigan’s property tax uncapping rules.  Generally, property taxes are uncapped (that is, the property taxes are based on the...

Rebutting Presumption of Undue Influence

By Doug Chalgian on December 21, 2013

It’s over – at least for now.  The Mortimore case. This is a case I have spoken and written about quite a bit for the past year. Common facts: Older gentleman.  His wife...