I am contemplating filing for divorce but my spouse makes virtually all of the family income. I am certain when I file my spouse will take me off the bank accounts and deny me access to money. If I ask my spouse to move out I am concerned that the marital bills will not get paid. What can I do to protect myself?

This issue often comes up right at the beginning of a divorce. Most Judges issue an initial Order called a “Status Quo Order” which requires people to continue doing what they were doing prior to the filing for divorce. These Orders bar people from closing bank accounts, changing beneficiaries or ceasing contributions to the marital… Read More »

I am taking care of my mother in her home. She wants to pay me as her caregiver instead of moving into assisted living. Can she do that?

If you are going to be a paid caregiver for your mother, you must follow some very strict rules. Here’s how it works. If your mother ever needs skilled nursing care, she may need to apply for Medicaid. Medicaid will penalize any payments made to a family member within five years as a “gift” unless… Read More »

My big brother recently died with only one bank account worth about $13,000. He had no beneficiaries listed and I don’t know how to get at the money to pay for his final expenses.

My condolences to you on the loss of your brother. When your brother passed away and didn’t have a beneficiary listed on his account, the probate court steps in to direct where the money in his account will go. Thankfully Michigan has as “Small Estate Probate” procedure that allows you to take care of this… Read More »

My father is going in for surgery next month and I was wondering what kind of planning he should do beforehand?

Great question. Your father should have at least a “base” estate plan in place. This covers three major areas: (1) incapacity, (2) wealth transfer, and (3) beneficiary protection. First, he needs to put someone in place for financial and medical decisions if he can no longer handle his affairs. Be very careful here – many… Read More »

I was awarded $10,000, plus interest, in my Judgment of Divorce. The Judgment was finalized in 2003. My ex has paid very little and still owes me most of that money. I was told I only have a limited amount of time to go to Court to enforce the Judgment and make my ex pay. Is this true?

YES! It is true that a Judgment of Divorce must be enforced within a specific time period. The “Statute of Limitations” bars legal action after a certain amount of time. For example, in most personal injury cases you have 3 years to sue and in most contracts cases you have 6 years to sue. To… Read More »

My mother is going in for surgery next month and I was wondering what kind of planning she should do beforehand?

Great question. Your mother should have at least a “base” estate plan in place. First, she needs to put someone in place for financial and medical decisions if she can no longer handle her affairs. Be very careful here – many times a “form” or “standard” power of attorney doesn’t work the way you expect…. Read More »