Clients sometimes get confused about the way lawyers use the word “property.” In the legal community, the word “property” has a very broad meaning. It means anything a person or entity could own. Different types of property are then classified with different labels. For example, the term “real property” is used to mean land and things affixed to the land. “Intellectual property” refers to things like trademarks and patents. Bank accounts and investments are referred to as “intangible personal property.”
From the perspective of the child who moved to New Jersey 30 years ago, the sibling who moved back into the family home to live with (and be supported by) his aging mother is a ne’er-do-well scam artist who took advantage of and manipulated his mother as her health declined so that, in the end, her entire estate passed to him by one means or another. From the perspective of the son who lived with his mother during those final years of life, he sacrificed to allow his mother to enjoy her final years in a safe environment outside of assisted living, and she favored him out of appreciation for that sacrifice.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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…)