Penning Group Blog

The Penning Group blog is written and edited by the advisors and attorneys of The Penning Group, providing practical business, personal, and legal information. To view blog posts by category, choose a topic area from the sidebar menu.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In the month of August of this year and even early September, many areas in Michigan saw historic flooding and sewer backups after quick and intense storms blanketed various areas of the state. Based on several conversations I have had with clients regarding their homeowners insurance policies, many have learned the hard way about storm insurance coverage. Because many of the lessons learned were unfortunate for my clients, I feel it is important to discuss and understand the available coverage options and consider all of the information so that we, too, do not have to “learn the hard way.”

Flood Insurance and Sewer Coverage Are Not the Same Thing

Many...

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I recently represented a client who was appointed as successor trustee of his father’s trust. The father, just prior to his death, held a “family meeting” to announce his intentions to change certain distribution of asset provisions in the trust that would apply after his death. The family meeting was held, the changes were announced but nothing was done to actually amend the father’s trust.

Upon the father’s death, my client’s brother, whose share was decreased by the father in the family meeting, sued my client to obtain his original share of the trust assets.

Michigan law (and the laws of most states) is very clear in that in order to amend a trust, where the trust is in...

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In my experience assisting families with succession planning for legacy assets such as their family business, cottage or farm, the biggest challenge I’ve found is making sure there is enough money to pay for the immediate obligations after the current owner’s death. These obligations can be in the form of taxes, possible interruptions to business operations, and revenue and debt service. The obligations also may extend to longer-term capital needs such as paying the bills for these assets. 

One solution that provides the necessary operating capital for covering family-owned property and other assets is purchasing life insurance. In the event of the current owner’s death, life...

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Domestic violence has been making news headlines lately, mainly because of the high-profile cases of the National Football League players Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and others. This publicity has drawn attention to the ambiguity surrounding the NFL’s established policy on domestic violence and other off-the-field transgressions by players.

Factors to Consider

The NFL exists in its own, somewhat unique atmosphere. The fact that the NFL has a complicated (and apparently rather flexible) policy on domestic violence does not, in itself, mean that all employers should have one. Here are some factors an employer should consider before implementing a domestic...

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

People view life insurance as a contingency plan if something bad happens in life. That view, however, is not the whole picture when it comes to considering life insurance as a planning tool. Life insurance can be a solution to several challenges in estate, business and cottage planning situations. As such, it is not only a contingency plan, but it can be a primary tool to serve a specific purpose in a person's overall succession plan.

Traditionally, the purpose of life insurance is to replace a wage earner’s income in the event of his/her unexpected or premature death. But that is not the full story. Life insurance can be a valuable tool to provide liquidity to pay estate taxes...

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