Penning Blog

Monday, April 13, 2015

Unfortunately, too many families overlook the importance of carefully crafting legal and financial safeguards to protect their special needs children as they grow into adulthood. Many times, families have simply entered into a “pact” with one or more of the siblings of the special needs child whereby those children have “promised” their parents that they will take care of their special needs sibling.

There Are Challenges for Estate Planning Involving Special Needs Children

Families with special needs children often overlook five essential estate planning techniques: 

  1. Determining qualifications or eligibility for special...
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Monday, April 13, 2015

On April 2, 2015, President Barack Obama issued a White House proclamation recognizing World Autism Awareness Day, declaring that “… everyone deserves a fair shot at opportunity” and celebrating the work of “… advocates, professionals, family members and all who work to build brighter tomorrows alongside those with autism.”

We Have Come a Long Way

In the last 20 years, there has been a significant increase in the diagnosis, treatment and available support programs for both autistic individuals and their family members. Research into the disorder and various treatment protocols have also become much more advanced. Autism awareness has become...

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On December 31, 2013, new law went into effect in Michigan allowing parents to gift their real estate to children during the parents' lifetimes without uncapping the taxable value of the property. As a result, several families took advantage of the new law, and parents actually transferred ownership of their homes to their children. However, preparing, signing and recording a deed transferring the ownership is not all that is required with respect to a transfer of ownership of the property.

Taxable Gifts Are Required to be Reported

The tax rules on gifts are such that an individual can gift up to $14,000 per year without any reporting requirements. For a...

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Individuals sometime assume estate plans only deal with future concerns like planning for retirement, providing an inheritance for loved ones, specifying long-term care provisions, avoiding estate taxes and appointing guardians for minor children … all the "someday" or "what if" stuff.

While the statements above are true, your estate plan also eliminates (or at the very least reduces) issues that are usually present now – namely, stress and worry.

My clients typically walk out of the office breathing a huge sigh of relief after they execute their estate plan documents. Why? Because they have created a plan that protects their assets, provides for their loved ones and gives...

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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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