Can I Get My Prior Criminal Conviction Expunged?

The laws regarding the setting aside (expungement) of convictions can be complicated. Either felony or misdemeanor convictions may be set aside depending on the extent of your criminal record. Even if your conviction was deferred or dismissed by statute, it may still be considered a part of your criminal record and it may still result… Read More »

My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it is getting to the point where I can’t take care of him at home anymore. If he moves to a nursing home, will I lose my home and my life savings?

No, but you must take active steps to protect your assets.  It’s hard to believe, but if you are married and your spouse is going into (or already in) a nursing home, you can protect your home and all of your life savings.  Congress has passed specific laws so that the spouse outside the nursing… Read More »

I’m getting married for the second time and both my new husband and I have adult children. Is there anything different I need to do with my estate planning?

Yes. We see more and more “blended families” (marriages where each spouse has children from a prior relationship).  You must take special steps to make sure you take care of each other, but also provide for your children after you are gone (if that’s your goal).  This can be quite complicated. For example, what if… Read More »

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 »