Blog — Real Estate Planning

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tax Filing Requirements for 2014 Gifts of Real Property

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...

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Elements of a Worry-Free Estate Plan

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...

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Planning to Plan Is Not a Plan

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...

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Succession Planning with Life Insurance for the Family Business, Cottage or Farm

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...

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Planning with Life Insurance

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...

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