A Change in the Law: Funeral Representatives

As of June 27, 2016, Michigan law allows you to formally identify a Funeral Representative who has the authority to make your final arrangements regarding your funeral, memorial service, cremation and/or burial. The Funeral Representative also has the right to possess – or make decisions about who may possess – your cremated remains. You can designate your Funeral Representative in your will, in your power of attorney, or in a separate writing that is notarized and/or witnessed by two persons. Read More

Selecting Your Fiduciary

When formulating estate plans, most people carefully consider to whom they should give their “stuff.” Who gets the piano? The book collection? The emerald ring and the antique pocket watch? But the process of choosing fiduciaries – the trustees, personal representatives, and agents – is handled as if bestowing an award upon them rather than interviewing them for a job. Read More

IRA Charitable Rollover Made Permanent

Thanks to the year-end tax and budget deal which was signed into law by Congress on December 18, 2015, the Charitable IRA Rollover has been made a permanent part of the U.S. Tax Code. The change allows you to transfer up to $100,000 per year of your pre-tax IRA to a public charity without being required to include the distribution in your taxable income. In order to exclude the income, you must forego the charitable income tax deduction. Read More

Pet Related Tax Deductions

While only California has begun a movement to treat pets as dependents, there are a number of deductions already available within the federal tax code that can be applicable to pets in certain situations. Do any of these scenarios apply to you and your pet? Read More

Tax Consequences of a Michigan-Florida Residence Change

If you are a Michigan resident who spends more than half of your year in Florida, you may be wondering whether it is advantageous to officially change your residence to Florida. As with all tax and estate planning matters, the answer will vary depending upon your unique situation. However, the most common considerations deal with income taxes and exemptions for homestead (Florida) and principal residence (Michigan). Read More

Gifting to Grandchildren: The GSTT

Did you know that if you leave money directly to your grandchildren, the funds may be taxed twice? The Generation Skipping Transfer Tax (GSTT) is responsible. Understanding the GSTT requires a discussion of both of life’s two certainties – death and taxes. Read More

Timeshares and Estate Planning

If you have a timeshare, you likely also have many wonderful memories of vacations with your family. Did you know that you can ensure your family’s ability to continue enjoying vacations at your timeshare property even after your death? Read More

Naming Your Retirement Plan Beneficiary

You’ve taken the time to list your spouse and children as beneficiaries on your work sponsored retirement plan or IRA (“retirement plan”), but are they listed individually, or as beneficiaries to a trust? The answer is important, because each achieves a very different outcome. Read More