My brother was my father’s primary caregiver for more than five years. He lived with our father in our childhood home until Dad passed away and still lives there now, by himself. I have three other siblings who have been talking about selling Dad’s home and dividing the proceeds equally among the children. Does my brother, who cared for my dad and lives in the home, have any rights to stay in the house, or will he be subject to the majority desire of our siblings?

What can he do to avoid being “kicked to the curb”? It depends on how the house is owned. Sometimes parents will add a child’s name to the house by quit claim deed (not recommended for lots of reasons). If your brother’s name was added to the house, he owns it and has the right… Read More »

I have three teenage daughters. My 14-year old has a disability and she receives government benefits. I have heard about something called a “special needs trust” and was wondering if you can explain how it works.

This is a really important question and it’s good that you are asking about it early.  Good planning can make a huge difference in your daughter’s life, as well as helping your other children who may be left with the responsibility for caregiving (on top of their own careers and caring for their own families)…. Read More »

My Ex is trying to register the kids for summer camp and at a time that will interfere with my summer parenting time. This is a problem every year. Can I file my own motion to deal with this or do I need to have a lawyer?

Issues like this come up a lot, particularly at this time of year when summer plans are being made. Certainly you can file a Motion on your own but often it takes a long time for Motions to get through the system, particularly when you don’t have a good handle on how these things are… 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 »