Put Your Plan in Order. Part 1: Are Your Beneficiary Designations Current?

This week’s article, “Are Your Beneficiary Designations Current?” is the first in a series of four articles discussing key information on estate planning matters. The following articles will also be included in this series:

                Part 2: Updated Planning for Clients with Married Separate Trusts

Kick Off Your Charitable Giving Season: Tax Benefits of Incorporating Charitable Giving Into Your Tax and Estate Planning

Now that Halloween has come and gone and the end of the year is on the horizon, the time is here to plan your short- and long-term strategies for charitable giving.

Depending on who you listen to, the overall economy is still sluggish; however, many individuals still realized significant stock market gains based on bullish market conditions during the course of 2013. Individuals who have enjoyed success in the market this year have realized gains that will increase their gross income, triggering higher taxes.

Dan’s Perspective: It’s a “New Day” for Estate planning, Or Is It? Recent Developments in Federal Estate Tax Law Have Dramatically Changed Estate Planning

In December 2012, Congress made temporary increases on the estate and gift tax credits permanent and adopted further benefits for taxpayers. Those credits resulted in individuals being able to give away during their lifetime, or transfer at death, approximately $5 million in assets to beneficiaries ($10 million for married couples).

The Joint Ownership Exception to the Transfer of Ownership Under Michigan Property Tax Law

A common concern among parents wishing to transfer ownership of cottages and other legacy-type residences to their children is the "uncapping" of real estate taxes that occurs upon transfer of ownership. The general rule is that as long as someone owns real estate, the "taxable value" of the real estate remains "capped" and increases only incrementally against a statutory capped amount on an annual basis.

New Michigan Law Expands Exemptions from Uncapping Property Tax Values for Transfers Between Parents and Children

The Michigan legislature recently added an exemption to the definition of "Transfer of Ownership" under the uncapping provisions of the General Property Tax Act. The new law provides that beginning December 31, 2013, transfers of residential real property from a transferor to a transferee who is related by blood or affinity to the first degree are not "transfers of ownership" and do not "uncap" the taxable value of the property provided that the use of the property does not change following the transfer. (MCL 211.77(a)(7)(s))

Think twice before leaning on a legal self-help site

While they have their uses, there are problems with relying on legal self-help websites in place of expert advice, writes Peter I. Minton, founder and president of Minton Law Group. These sites aren't able to provide specific advice about your company and they won't be able to point out ongoing legal problems, he explains. And many people who try to save money by avoiding lawyers often face difficulties later.

Be Aware of the "Rules of the Water"

Boating goes wrongAll states, and in certain circumstances the federal government, regulate the  use and enjoyment of watercrafts of all kinds on water located within or contiguous to any particular state.

News & Views: Relief for Families with Autistic Children

As many of you are aware, one of my twin 17-year old sons, Casey, is autistic.  Casey was first diagnosed with his condition 13 years ago at the age of 4.  Since that time, children suffering from autism have been diagnosed at record rates across the country.

News + Views: Are YOU a Pirate?


What Everyone Should Know Regarding Software Piracy Laws.

image of a pirate flag with a red xIn my practice, I have encountered many situations both with individual and business clients where they received notices from software companies alleging my clients had violated software piracy laws.  These notices are no joke and not for the circular file.

News + Views: The Penning Group opens NEW Grand Rapids office and relocates Detroit-area office

The Penning Group is pleased to announce the opening of its new Grand Rapids, Michigan office located at:

Penning Group's new Grand Rapids office250 Monroe NW, Suite 400
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Telephone: 616.717.5746
Fax: 616.717.5701