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Estate Planning

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As much as any area of the law, clients come to the estate planning process with misunderstandings, confusion and often fear. Concepts like “avoiding probate” and the “death tax” have entered into the public consciousness, but their significance is often exaggerated.

CT’s estate planning lawyers aren’t going to scare you with more intimidating concepts. Rather, their goal is to help you understand and make good decisions. No pressure, just information and guidance.

Would you benefit from having a Living Trust or is a simple Will adequate?

What is the difference between a medical and financial Power of Attorney?

Who should you appoint to manage your affairs when you die or if you become incapacitated?

Our lawyers are among the most experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorneys in Michigan. That means they have both the technical expertise (know how to use the right words, know where the tax traps are, and know what the various documents should be used for) and that they are good counselors (help you understand what makes sense in your situation, explain the various documents and how those documents might be used in your situation).

To Read More On Estate Planning, Check Out These Articles:

Asset Protection Trusts

Asset Protection Trusts - the New Game in Town

May 08, 2017 | Doug Chalgian

With little fanfare, at the close of 2016, the Michigan Legislature passed (and Governor Snyder signed) legislation that created a new and dramaticall ...
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

May 22, 2014 | Doug Chalgian

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: whethe ...
a matter of trust

A Matter of Trust

Oct 22, 2011 | Doug Chalgian

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 will...
The Top 10 Ways to Incite Anarchy When You Die

The Top 10 Ways to Incite Anarchy When You Die

Sep 02, 2016 | Doug Chalgian

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...
Modern Estate Planning Focuses on Life Events

Modern Estate Planning Focuses on Life Events

Aug 10, 2015 | Doug Chalgian

Unless your estate planning documents provide direction as to how to strike the balance between protecting assets and paying for higher quality o ...
what could go wrong with your living trust

What Could Go Wrong with Your Living Trust?

Oct 01, 2014 | Doug Chalgian

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 ...

When Elder Law Meets DINK Planning

Jul 01, 2014 | Chalgian & Tripp

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 "DIN ...
Is Your "Living Trust" Alive, or Barely Breathing?

Is Your "Living Trust" Alive, or Barely Breathing?

Jul 01, 2013 | Doug Chalgian

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 ...
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 ...

Oct 01, 2009 | Doug Chalgian

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... ...

And These Blog Posts About Estate Planning:

Decanting Made Easy

By Doug Chalgian on Feb 16, 2017

It’s been four years since Michigan’s decanting laws took effect. Those of us at CT have found ourselves decanting more and more lately. It has provided magnificent results in several cases.  I think the reason it took us so long to get on the...

Section 2503 Grows Up

By Doug Chalgian on Nov 12, 2016

This just in – pretty big news – and pretty interesting – the Michigan Court of Appeals holds, in a published opinion, that a draft of a will, prepared by a lawyer, but never signed by her client, could be a valid will. Click on the...

Who Gets the Grow Lamps?

By Doug Chalgian on Sep 28, 2016

Thoughts on Plain English and Terms of Art In recent years, lawyers – or at least legal academics – have pushed the concept that lawyers need to write using “plain English.” The movement is presumably designed to make the legal world more...

Meaty Morris Matter Unfortunately Unpublished

By Doug Chalgian on Sep 03, 2016

The Court of Appeals recently released its opinion in the Estate of Stanley Morris. Click on the name to read the case. There’s a lot here, and a lot of what, in my opinion, is new law or at least clarifications. Someone put some time into...
I posted twice before on the Roush case. Click here and here for the background. In short, the issue in this case is: When a person who has previously created a patient advocate designation is deemed unable to make their own medical decisions by two...

The (Dysfunctional) Family Prayer

By Doug Chalgian on Oct 03, 2015

With the holiday season coming – and thinking about my elder law practice and clients – I came up with this idea.  Please don’t take offense – it is meant to be a joke – more or less. Dear ______ As we gather together during this holiday...

Gender Identity and Estate Planning

By Doug Chalgian on May 13, 2015

Those of you as old as I am have lived through one revolution:  the communications revolution.  We went from wall phones to smart phones in a generation.  From no computers to computers everywhere and in everything we use.  We can all recognize...
A holographic will is a will that a person writes out in their own hand – and signs and dates.  If this is done, the usual requirements that the will be witnessed do not apply.    People like to talk about these cases because they tend to come...

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