Legal Blog



Top Three Will-Related Myths

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Legal Blog
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 21:48

1. I don't have enough assets to need a Will.

Even if you don't have many assets, it is probable that you still need a Will. A Will is an important estate planning document that appoints a person to act as your executor/personal representative upon your death and ensures your assets are divided according to your wishes. It also establishes a guardian for any minor children. If you die without a valid Will, the court will appoint a personal representative for you and state law will dictate how your assets are divided among those you leave behind.

2. If I have a Will, I can avoid Probate.

Having a valid Will does not mean your estate can skip Probate. Upon your death, your Will must be filed with the probate court. Probate is an administrative process that appoints a Personal Representative to ensure your assets are gathered, all your debts are paid, and your remaining assets are distributed to your beneficiaries. Without written approval from the court, your personal representative will not have the power to act on behalf of your estate.

3. Establishing a Trust is better than having a Will.

While there are many benefits to establishing a Trust (including: potential tax savings and the avoidance of probate), doing so may not be suitable in all cases. Setting up and maintaining a Trust can be time consuming and may be more expensive than the traditional probate process. A qualified estate planning attorney can discuss the benefits and costs associated with a trust and help you decide whether one is right for you.

For additional information regarding Wills or Probate, contact the Michigan estate planning and elder law attorneys at KeuschFlintoft, P.C. today.

 

 

New Michigan “Super Drunk” Law

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Legal Blog
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 21:46

The "Super Drunk" bill, a new drunk driving law, is scheduled to go into effect on October 31, 2010.

Following country wide crackdowns on drunk drivers, the Michigan bill creates a new classification of drunk driver, known as the "Super Drunk," and includes any driver with a bodily alcohol content (BAC) of equal to or greater than 0.17, which is over twice the legal limit of 0.08.

After October 31, "Super Drunk" drivers will face harsher penalties than they do under current Michigan law, including:

  • A one-year driver license suspension for a first offense, the first 45 days of which is a "hard suspension," meaning that no driving at all is allowed;
  • Placement of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) on his/her vehicle at the expensive of the driver;
  • Increased fines;
  • Increased jail time; and
  • Possible placement in a mandatory one-year-minimum alcohol treatment program.

With such an increase in penalties, it is more important than ever to obtain experienced criminal defense representation. If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Michigan and your BAC was over 0.17, you could face severe financial and legal consequences. For help, contact the Chelsea, Michigan criminal defense attorneys at KeuschFlintoft, P.C. today.

 

Chelsea City Utility Issues

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Legal Blog
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 19:52

The City of Chelsea offers its own municipal electric services. Residential and commercial uses of electricity find that locating within the City, as opposed to other areas in Washtenaw or Jackson counties, has the advantage of lower electrical rates. Chelsea's utility grid being smaller and more compact has fewer "brown outs" and interruptions due to weather events.
The City, being a municipality, has the right to impose a lien upon real property for the non-payment of its electrical utility charges, unlike private companies. This presents two unique legal issues for the purchaser of property in the City. First, a buyer of property may find after closing that the seller did not pay the light bill. The City will impose a lien on the real property title regardless of who appears on the deed. Title insurance companies are attuned to the necessity of withholding an amount to pay water charges, but frequently, they fail to inquire as to a municipal electric charge.

Read more... [Chelsea City Utility Issues]
 

Adverse Possession in Michigan Real Property Law

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Friday, 15 January 2010 15:17
Serving our clients in Western Washtenaw and the neighboring rural counties of Jackson, Lenawee, Ingham and Livingston, it is not unusual for a client to ask about a claim of title either in their own name or out of concern that it might be used against him or her. Many people have heard of the doctrine of title through adverse possession but it is often misunderstood or misquoted from a recent Perry Mason rerun

Adverse Possession is a doctrine of title wherein a person can establish title to, or "ownership" of a piece of real estate through a time period of using land that is not his or here to begin with. Whether the facts of a certain scenario amount to enough for a person to make such a claim is the subject of a long history of many court decisions that make up this body of law.

Read more... [Adverse Possession in Michigan Real Property Law]
 

Keeping Your Cool When Things Are Heating Up…The Infancy of Divorce

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Friday, 08 January 2010 03:59
These are by all measures, troubled times.  That is certainly not news to anyone.  Marital problems may be the result of tough economic times or may simply be the straw breaking the camel's back.  Whatever the cause or effect of a deteriorating marriage, there are ways that you can approach a pending divorce that will lessen conflict, clarify issues and in the end maybe get you a "better result."

Te begin, there is no way any attorney can entirely predict the result of a divorce.  There are simply too many variables.  You are unique, so is your spouse (and so is the judge).  Your marriage relationship is or was as well.  Therefore, I define "better result" as exiting your marriage safe, sane and single, and on your merry way.  No disrespect or flippancy intended for the upheaval and anxiety that a divorce causes is painful, but in some, if not many cases, the new life can be safer, calmer and clearer than the one suffering conflict and strife.
Read more... [Keeping Your Cool When Things Are Heating Up…The Infancy of Divorce]
 

Freedom of Information Act – the Public’s and the Municipality’s Best Friend

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Legal Blog
Tuesday, 05 January 2010 20:23

Clearly, no pun intended, there has been a need to open the doors to public meetings to allow information to flow back and forth between the public and the government.  Efficiency, transparency and civil rights are preserved when citizens have access to what goes on in meetings of their governments and governmental agencies.  The municipality and agency is served also by removing the taint of closed door decisions that ultimately bring scandal and cost down on our governing bodies and leaders.

The Freedom of Information Act (1976 PA 442) is often abbreviated as FOIA.  A FOIA request is when, under certain guidelines, a person seeks a public record from a public body.  "Person" is widely defined to include such entities as individuals, corporations associations or other governmental entities.  "Public Records" are writings prepared, owned, in the possession of or retained by a public body in the performance of its official functions.  "Public Bodies" include individuals (officers, employees, officials), agencies, boards and departments.  Although these definitions form the skeleton of the statute, the definitions are more broadly defined in the Act.

Persons request these records from the public bodies, which must respond in a timely manner.  The public body has a policy for FOIA requests and that is readily available.  There is often a fee associated with a request.

Certain records are exempt from disclosure.  The categories of exempt records include records which involve privacy rights, law enforcement investigations, school records, trade secrets and other records.  MCL 15.243(1) contains a list of exempt records.  Conflict and litigation ca arise when a person and a public body disagree on what is exempt or the degree of exemption in a request.

The Freedom of Information Act is a technical statute, with deadlines and requirements that are specifically stated and enforced.  Both the person requesting the information and the public body charged with disclosing the information is served well by preparation and sound legal advice.  The broad policy of disclosure represented by the Act is one that has help individuals and local governments preserve the rule of law to the betterment of all.

 
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