2017 SOCIAL SECURITY CHANGES

In 2017, an SSI recipient's individual income increased from $733 per month to $735 per month.  A couple's SSI benefit increased from $1,100 per month to $1,103 per month. Retired workers received a $5 bump on average, to $1,360. Average Monthly Social Security Benefits 2017 The following are the estimated average monthly Social Security benefits [...]

PET-PROOFED ESTATE PLANNING

For the past 141 years, Americans have spent the week of Valentine’s Day admiring dogs at the Westminister Kennel Club (WKC) Dog Show.  And while the German shepherd stole this year’s crown, we know that all dogs, regardless of breed, are winners. As Americans, much of our time and paychecks are dedicated to caring for [...]

PLAN LIKE THE PATRIOT’S: KEY PLAYERS AND CLIPBOARD DOCUMENTS OF ESTATE PLANNING

Whether you are waking up this morning with Patriot pride, fury over the Falcon’s fumble, or are still star struck from Lady Gaga’s performance, I think we can all agree on one take-away from Super Bowl LI: If you choose to put your mind to something, you can achieve it. And yes – I’m talking [...]

FIDUCIARY OR ESTATE: WHO DOES YOUR ATTORNEY REPRESENT?

This past week, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued and published an important decision that clarifies the issue of whether an attorney represents the interests of the entire probate estate or just the fiduciary (Personal Representative, Conservator, Guardian, Trustee, etc.). Before this ruling, many attorneys and clients were confused by this issue.  For years, despite [...]

120-HOUR RULE: A CASE STUDY OF DEBBIE REYNOLDS AND CARRIE FISHER

The recent passing of both Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, mother and daughter, so close together reminded me of one of Michigan’s probate laws, commonly known as the 120-hour rule. The 120-hour rule states that if your heir or beneficiary dies within the first 120 hours (or 5 days) after you die, they are treated [...]

WILLS AND TRUSTS: A CASE STUDY APPLED TO DEBBIE REYNOLDS AND CARRIE FISHER

The nation recently mourned the tragic loss of both Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, within just a day of one another. While neither of them passed away in Michigan and we have no idea whether they had a will or trust, or what those documents might have said, their story serves as a [...]

2017 A New Year: Anything Can Happen. Are You Prepared?

Amidst the joys of arguing politics with friends and family and indulging in a surplus of comfort foods, the New Year can also provoke anxiety and feelings of insecurity. With another year gone and a new unknown in front of us, we often reflect on our past mistakes with a determination to rectify and not [...]

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH ALL OF US: MOURNING CARRIE FISHER

May the force be with all of us as we mourn the sudden and tragic loss of Carrie Fisher, better known as Princess Leia. Among the many humble and human qualities that Carrie Fisher shared with us over the years was her candidness about jumbled family ties. Dig deep enough into anyone’s family tree, and the [...]

LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS: NOT AS LUXURIOUS WITHOUT A WILL

Since the early '00s, Good Charlotte's "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" has been a championed anthem of the hardworking American people. With the perspective that, "they got mansions/think we should rob them" in mind, it is easy to see how we form the assumption that people of wealth and fame have their affairs in [...]